Hutson imparts knowledge to offensive line


Josh Saxton

Mark Hutson directs players during football practice, Tuesday. Hutson is the new offensive line coach for the Panthers. He has coached at Eastern before, most recently the 2006 season. In addition, he has spent the last three years as tight end coach for the Oakland Raiders.

Blake Nash, Staff Reporter

Eastern’s offensive line coach Mark Hutson is no stranger to the game of college football. The veteran coach has been a part of football for over 25 years and has taken on numerous positions throughout that time span.

Hutson has served as an offensive line coach, offensive coordinator, tight ends coach and even took the Panthers to the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs in 2006. Hutson was the interim head coach following the absence of coach Bob Spoo.

Hutson returned to Eastern this spring, after being let go as the tight ends coach of the National Football League’s Oakland Raiders.

Hutson was the Raiders’ tight ends coach from 2012-2014.

“It was a great time when I was here,” Hutson said. “I’ve known Coach Dameron since the mid-‘90s, maybe before that, since we’re from the same area in Arkansas.”

Eastern coach Kim Dameron graduated from Rogers High School in Arkansas, while Hutson lived in Fort Smith, which is an hour down the road from Rogers.

Hutson would later attend the University of Oklahoma, where he was a two-time All-American lineman.

The two would reunite years later as coaches at Murray State.

“He’s got a high football IQ, and his knowledge and experience, I think, is second to none,” Dameron said. “He’s coached at all levels and could coach any team in the country at any level.”

Other than his experience in Oakland, Hutson also has had more experience working with professional-caliber athletes. In 2007, Hutson was the offensive line coach for Tulane University when Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte broke the school’s rushing record.

Forte had 2,127 yards and 23 touchdowns before being drafted in the second round by the Bears in the 2008 NFL Draft. Hutson said coaching Forte was a fine experience.

“Matt is such a fine young man and a double major at Tulane,” Hutson said. “He knew the protections and the major run schemes and was just a physical player and a real smart player. It was just a pleasure coaching Matt.”

One of Hutson’s current offensive lineman said being coached by Hutson has also been a good experience.

“He makes us look at the game a different way,” red-shirt junior right tackle Evan Kanz said. “He’s got so much knowledge of the game, so he’s been there and done that. Whatever he says we know it’s the right thing to do.”

Hutson says he prefers using multiple blocking schemes so the defense cannot settle in what the offense is running. His knowledge of these different schemes has also come from different positions on coaching staffs.

“I’ve used that experience to my advantage,” Hutson said. “I know the schemes now and the concepts that we have, so I try to tailor that to the protections and just use those past experiences to a benefit.”

Hutson was part of Coach Dennis Allen’s staff at Oakland last year, but Allen was fired on September 29th after a 0-4 start. The Raiders promoted offensive line coach Tony Sparano as the interim head coach.

When a new staff was being brought in during the offseason, Hutson decided to return to his old stomping grounds of Eastern, where his friend Dameron became the head coach in 2014.

Dameron had also unluckily been a part of that scenario and welcomed Hutson back to Charleston.

“I’ve been part of that before and that’s not anything that’s fun,” Dameron said. “But the fact that he was available worked out really good for us.”

Kanz, a returning starter, said he is excited about having a former NFL coach mentoring him this season.

“We know he knows what he’s talking about because of his knowledge and information to us,” Kanz said. “He’s going to help us prepare for games this season.”


Blake Nash can be reached at [email protected] or 581-2812