Long before he was leading the Broncos, Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett was teaching dance classes. Now, he will look to use some of the same tactics to motivate his football players.
The Denver Post’s Sean Keeler talked to David Schrag, one of Hackett's old friends and a fellow UC Davis alumnus, who reflected on the coach's days as a hip-hop dance instructor while in college. To Schrag, Hackett's ability to be silly and expressive has allowed him to become a great motivator.
"The one thing about him is, he's just so completely fearless," Schrag told Keeler. "He was never afraid to be goofy and be funny. But also, he learned really quickly, too."
Schrag told Keeler that Hackett's dance classes were always packed, with 30 to 40 people squeezing into the room for each session to learn hip-hop dance choreography.
"His classes were huge, and here was this big football-player guy teaching dance classes to dozens and dozens of students," Schrag said. "And I think that was mainly because — he's a good dancer, absolutely — it was just his personality. He was just very charming. He owned the room. People loved being around him."
Keeler noted that Hackett will have success in Denver if he can motivate his players in the same way he used to motivate his dance students.
"If Hackett can command UCHealth Training Center the way he used to command that tangle of those dancing fools back in Davis, the Broncos' glasses will never feel short of half-full," Keeler wrote. "No matter how much blood, sweat or tears get spilled along the way."
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The Athletic’s Nick Kosmider polled 14 Broncos players on which of their teammates they predict will have a breakout season in 2022, and a number of players chose defensive end Dre'Mont Jones.
"[Jones] should go crazy this year," center Lloyd Cushenberry III told Kosmider. "It's his fourth year; he's been balling in practice, all through camp and OTAs, so I'll say him, for sure. He's got the total package — speed, power — and the way they're using him now in these third-down packages is going to just show what he has all year. I'm expecting a big year from him."
Added defensive end Jonathan Harris: "He's a guy who just continues to get better. We came in the same year (2019), and he's had a really good offseason that I think will translate into the regular season. It's his work ethic and the way he practices. He's always going as hard as he can. So he's a guy I think will have a breakout year."