Nathaniel Hackett is enthusiastic about everything he does. Whether it's working with offensive players on the practice field or simply standing at a podium and fielding questions from the media, the Buffalo Bills' offensive coordinator seems to be bursting with energy at all times.
After rookie EJ Manuel completed a touchdown pass earlier in training camp, Hackett ran to him and gave the quarterback a leaping chest bump. The 33-year-old is clearly a big change from former coach Chan Gailey, who called the plays in Buffalo the last three seasons.
"I almost pulled a hamstring, that was a long, long run," Hackett said. "That throw and catch by 88 (Marquise Goodwin) and 3 (EJ Manuel), that's something I hope we can get to hear a lot. Then you get hear that sweet song ('Shout')."
Hackett's father Paul coached in college and the NFL until 2010. He started his coaching career at the University of California-Davis before spending several years at Stanford. Hackett spent two seasons as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offensive quality control coach and held the same title in Buffalo from 2008 to 2009 under coach Dick Jauron.
After Jauron's firing, Hackett joined Doug Marrone's coaching staff at Syracuse. Hackett spent the last two seasons as the Orange's offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach and tight ends coach. Syracuse's offense set multiple school records in 2012, including yards per game (476), passing yards (3,757), touchdown passes (26), completions (295) and first downs (328).
Marrone brought Hackett with him to Buffalo. His job interview ended up lasting eight hours, as the pair watched old game tape and talked about the different offensive systems they've worked in.
"I was with his dad for a couple of years and his dad was a very fiery type of guy, and then when I met Nathaniel — I obviously met him through his dad first — I saw the same thing," Marrone said of Hackett's energy. "And then having the experience of working with him, I've learned to understand it better where I'm not at times that type of person. But, I don't think it's bad to show your emotions."
Hackett is looking to bring an up-tempo offense to Buffalo. The team has used a no-huddle approach at times during the preseason and even goes quickly from play to play during practice.
The offensive coordinator is excited about the different weapons he has to work with this year. However, he's clearly a big fan of running back C.J. Spiller. Hackett plans to ride him until he throws up, as he told WGR-AM earlier in camp.
"If he's tapping out I feel as though I've done my job," he said. "I think that's critical and I think it goes the same with Stevie (Johnson) and it goes the same way with all those guys. I think when you go up tempo, you have a lot of plays and we'll see how many people have to tap out."
Page 2 of 2 - Hackett is also high on his young receiving corps, which features rookies Marquise Goodwin, Robert Woods and second-year man T.J. Graham. He encourages his receivers to play with "swagger" and "get after people."
The coordinator plans to be up in the box for all of the games this year and joked that he won't be able to run down to the field to give out chest bumps after touchdowns. However, that won't stop him from celebrating.
"Any time you score a touchdown, it's unbelievable," Hackett said. "It's hard to score a touchdown; I don't care what anybody says. In practice versus this defense, on the field, it doesn't matter. Anytime you score, you should celebrate and you should get used to it. The more you celebrate, the more you want to do it, the more touchdowns come."