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Bresnahan remembers Hull

Here's an excerpt of an interview I did about a decade ago with former Bills offensive line coach and coordinator Tom Bresnahan on the late Kent Hull, who will be buried today in Greenwood, Miss. Bresnahan is one of the most articulate coaches I've ever met and was a great O-line coach for the Bills.

“Kent was a great football player. During my time in professional football, he’s as good as it gets. First of all, he was an exceptional athlete in almost every way. There were two centers, maybe three, besides him that I thought were superior centers. Mike Wesbter was around at the beginning of my time. Then there was Dwight Stepehnson. Then Dermontti Dawson. Each were a little different. In comparison to those three, I’d have to rate Kent the No. 1 pass protector of the four. Kent Hull was brilliant as a pass protector. I’m sure (ex-Dolphins coach) John Sandusky would say Stephenson.”

“I know what we did in our scheme in those days, sending five receivers out in the pattern, was rare. There were many times we left only the five O-linemen to block  all the rushers. Obviously, you cant block ‘em all. Jim Kelly had to read hot. This put tremendous pressure on Kent, not only mentally but physically. If it was an odd defense, if Kent were covered, he was totally alone. All the other guys, if they were uncovered, were peeleing out of there looking for blitzers.

"Finally as a run blocker, Dermontti and Dwight Stephenson were quicker off the mark, I’d have to say. But we didn’t ask Kent to do a lot of those kinds of things. We didn’t ask Kent to pull. He was exceptionally quick. He could get position on a big, strong nose man who could overpower most centers. He had unique strength, even though he wasn’t he biggest guy on the line. A lotta Thurman Thomas’ yardage was run just outside of him or to the backside of him."

"Now let’s get to the real heart. I coached some really good linemen who I love dearly. But he was the best overall football player I ever coached. The reason why I say it is not just his physical ability, but he had an unbelievable demeanor and an ability to make decisions under pressure and a calmness and a poise under pressure that really kept everybody on the same page. Operating the no-huddle offense, the only other real key besides Kelly was Kent Hull.

“A couple other things. The line is together six months a year, and we’re in a room and a lot of ‘em are hearing the same things over and over again. Coaching this was a seminar situation with players and coaches making decisions as a team about what’s the best way to go about this thing. Kent was obviously a key guy in my mind in bouncing things off of. I didn’t hesitate to call him on the phone on Tuesday. A couple times I’d remember he’d even come to the office on Tuesday. I’d ask, ‘Kent, how do you think he can handle this best?’ He would have made an unbelievable football coach. Everybody respected him. His nickname was ‘Tough,’ and that’s because that’s exactly what he was. The finest football player I ever coached.”

---Mark Gaughan



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