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Bills' K-Gun offense influential to new OC Nathaniel Hackett

By Tim Graham

When the Buffalo Bills went no-huddle in 2009, it was a fiasco.

Head coach Dick Jauron and offensive coordinator Turk Schonert spent the entire offseason converting to a no-huddle attack with quarterback Trent Edwards and Terrell Owens.

Schonert got fired 10 days before the season began. Jauron went forward with the no-huddle offense but eventually abandoned it before getting fired himself. Terrell Owens was a sideshow. Edwards, well, he was Edwards. The Bills ranked 30th in total offense.

But maybe the Bills' failure back then will help them in 2013.

One of the low-level assistants on Jauron's staff, Nathaniel Hackett, will be Buffalo's next offensive coordinator, a team source told The Buffalo News. The Bills officially have not confirmed the hire.

Hackett, 33, was offensive coordinator at Syracuse University the past two seasons under new Bills head coach Doug Marrone.

Hackett has noted his offensive philosophies, successful at Syracuse, were cultivated during his time with the Bills. He said Jim Kelly gave him a copy of a Bills playbook from the 1990s, and Hackett came to rely on it.

From a Nov. 8 story by Daily Orange assistant sports editor Chris Iseman:

During those seasons, he learned the ins and outs of the no-huddle from Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, who ran the "K-gun" offense with the Bills from 1986 to 1996.  Hackett also picked the brain of Kelly’s former backup, Alex Van Pelt, who was the Bills’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach when Hackett was in Buffalo.

Hackett said Kelly and Van Pelt told him if a team is going to commit to the no-huddle offense, it has to be a full commitment. Everything needs to be done with speed in mind.

Hackett turned Syracuse into a no-huddle offense this season with quarterback Ryan Nassib.

Syracuse ranked third in the Big East in scoring offense at 30 points a game and first in yards at 476 a game. It ranked third in rushing offense, second in passing offense, second in third-down efficiency and third in sacks allowed.

"You've got to constantly move, move, move," Syracuse left tackle Justin Pugh said in the Daily Orange article. "We saw in camp that it really affected our defense. If you go out there and you’re able to get them going nonstop, just going at them, going at them, it's going to wear them down."

Based on the immediate feedback from my Twitter feed, Bills fans are underwhelmed by Hackett's age and limited NFL experience.

But if he can tap into those 1990s Buffalo Bills and bring a part of them back to life in Ralph Wilson Stadium, then the fans will love him.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |