Texans TV's Drew Dougherty spoke with Florida Atlantic University football beat writer Kevin Fielder of Owls247. They discussed FAU assistant Hines Ward, who interviewed recently for the Texans Head Coach position.
DD: Kevin Fielder is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and covers Florida Atlantic University for Owls247. Hines Ward is the Wide Receivers Coach and Assistant to the Head Coach at FAU. We know who Ward was as a player: a hard- nosed, physical receiver who really had a lot of respect around the league. But as a leader, a coach nowadays, what have you heard and what have you seen from him in your time there covering FAU?
Fielder: Hines Ward was hired late last season and it was for the last two games. The biggest thing that Willie Taggart, the head coach, talked about was, he's a pro. He's played in the NFL for a long time, and was kind of hoping that some of that translated onto some of his wide receivers. If you look at those two games immediately after he was hired, they had two wide receivers go for over 80 yards. They had really big games from two different wide receivers. The biggest thing was they wanted that pro attitude brought to that unit and brought to that group. Because the wide receivers kind of struggled early on in the year and some of it was coaching. Some of it was just poor play at times. That was the first thing that Taggart mentioned. When we spoke to players immediately after the hiring, that was the thing that they also mentioned. He's bringing that pro mindset, that pro leadership. He's going to he's going to hold us accountable as players and as athletes and make sure that we're making the best decisions to help the team and help ourselves.
DD: What was your initial reaction when you when you heard Ward was adding the wide receivers coach role to his duties?
Fielder: Hines Ward was on the staff as a special assistant to the head coach and there was probably some thought amongst people, including myself, that at some point he may be the guy to take over that wide receiver coaching position. I think most people expected it to be at the end of the season. But Willie Taggart felt the need to make a change. It was definitely a little bit of a shock to hear it come so late in the season.
DD: Before the change was made, though, what was the chatter you heard about Ward as a special assistant to the head coach?
Fielder: My understanding was that he was always involved with the wide receivers and kind of coaching them as much as he could with NCAA rules. Because NCAA rules, of course, limit the amount of on-field assistants you can have throughout the year. So he was kind of in that background role. One thing I remember hearing is, whenever he was holding their camps during the summer for high school recruits, he was working with some of those recruits. He was giving them pointers as a wide receiver, certain route running things that can help kind of clear up their game. That was kind of the first thing that stood out to me was him working a lot with these younger high school recruits. He was always involved, just kind of in that background role.
DD: What did you make of the news yesterday that he's one of the guys interviewing for an NFL head coaching job?
Fielder: I can't lie, I was obviously shocked. He hasn't been coaching for long. Anytime you hear that a wide receiver coach in college football is being interviewed as an NFL head coaching candidate with very little NFL coaching experience, it comes as that initial shock. But then I kind of thought about it. If you're going to want to try and get a leader in there, who better than Hines Ward? Because everyone I've spoken to and everyone I've interacted with regarding Hines Ward has always spoken about how good of a leader he is, how much he gets people to listen to him. I think that's something that can translate to that NFL level as well.