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Real Talk with QBV #5: Former College and Pro Football Quarterback Chris Hixson

Updated: Feb 27, 2021

On Thursday the QBV team had the pleasure of interviewing former College and Pro Quarterback Chris Hixson. Hixson was a four year starter at the University of Rhode Island and has many school records at URI. He also played professionally in the Arena Football League.

After his professional career, Hixson has dedicated his life to the game of Football. He is the owner and head coach of "Trent Dilfer's QBIQ," Where he teaches his IQ system to many different young Quarterbacks. Hixson is a QB expert who has written three books on being a Quarterback. Take a look at what we learned below!

Check out the full podcast on YouTube, Apple , Spotify or anywhere else you listen to podcasts!

Coming to URI for college, what was your first impression of the football environment in New England?

Obviously I came from the West Coast, I played High School at Belleview High School. If you guys know who Belleview is, if you’ve seen the movie “Where the Game Stands Tall” that’s the same school, we beat them, we snapped their 151-0 record, which was the best record in sports history. Commonly top five, top ten in the country, it has not been as good the past few years but typically we are in the running for being top in the nation.

Coming out of that to going to the University of Rhode Island, I did not have a whole lot of opportunities from scholarships and what not. I didn’t have a junior year then all of a sudden we are playing in a Wing-T Offense where we throw the ball 6-7 times a game. Flats, drags and occasionally the backside post when the backside safety falls asleep. We were smoking every team so I would play 2-3 quarters a game.

Ultimately, I didn’t have a whole lot of scholarships but I got the opportunity to go to the University of Rhode Island. I was able to start right away, anyplace you are able to start right away, you typically like. I really enjoyed Rhode Island, it was awesome being a Ram...”

What was it like playing in the AFL (Arena Football League), differences between 8 man and 11 man game?

“I had a couple of opportunities other than arena, arena is what I did post college, and I played a good amount of years in that league. I am going to tell you right now, it’s the most fun type of Football I have ever played, because you throw every down and you are always in scoring position. It’s an exciting, fast fast game.

Put it in context like this, take a guy who runs a 4.4 40, you do not just take the field and half it, you take the width of the field and half it as well, so it is the quarter of the side and then you are not done yet. You take the guy who runs a 4.4 40 and give him a head start. Now this guy basically runs a 3.7, a 3.8.

What I used to tell myself is my mantra, I drop fast, I read fast and I throw fast. Tie your eyes to your foot, that’s what Trent Dilfer always says. He always says tie your eyes to your feet, when you see a quarterback start to do that, you realize this Quarterback understands the intelligent side of Football, so he can anticipate the windows. Once you see that, you see that this Quarterback is approaching a maturity level that is pretty impressive.

You got to do that in Arena, look at what Kurt Warner did, he got to do that in Arena Football. If you don’t, you are going to be late, you won't have a shot to hit the guy. That’s why a lot of NFL guys that try to play Arena can’t really make the transition.”

How important is film work in the off season? How important are pre snap reads?

That is obviously a super important part of the game right. Preparation is like you resume going into a game. When bosses look at you and say, “Hey let me see your resume.” Hardly ever are you going to outdo your resume. You are usually going to do exactly as your resume suggests. You are not just going to be amazing by lightning strike, or bad by lightning strike. You are usually going to have exactly what your resume has for that week, which is your attention on your opponent.

You are going to play like how your whole week preparation was, you are going to play exactly like that, bottom line. The better the preparation, the better the process, the better the results. A part of that process should be a great amount of time looking at film. Look at guys like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, they are looking at film consistently.

What are you looking at? When you are talking about the QBIQ System, knowing how to watch film is a great part of QBIQ. We watch film with an intelligent eye, when you get defenses that you are familiar with or accustomed to, you are simply going to react quicker with anticipation and with general rules, I know how this guy baits because I’ve watched him... If you can learn that from position to position to position, you can ID the Defense faster, you can know what works with that defense and apply it to your current play package.

Obviously, use your situational understanding, knowing what you should be throwing and what you shouldn’t be throwing and throw smart passes.”

Should a young QB study different types of QBs who may not match their playing style?

I think studying a certain type of Quarterback and how he operates the position makes sense but only in a mental sense. Certainly, we need to learn to operate in the pocket and spatial awareness and be able to put ourselves in the best scenario. Even though we are in a small space, making extra space but keeping our eyes down the field. Those types of drills with off-scheduled type plays need to be rehearsed.

Elite 11 does a great job with that, in terms of conflict climb, secondary reaction and all these types of drills that make you understand how to maneuver. When to evacuate, when to side door eject, when to climb, when to protect the ball on climb and then ultimately if you have to exit, if you have a vertical read and you have to move left, you can back pedal, if you have to side door eject left but yet the throw is out to the flat, you got to 180 flip the ground. There are all these different things you have to rehearse, when the situation arises so your body never feels like it is in new territory. I’ve rehearsed this a million times, it is like second nature.

I don’t care if you are an unathletic guy compared to an athletic guy, you still need to rehearse the same movements. You still need to rehearse the off-platform type of throws, so watching all different types of Quarterbacks is important without a doubt. But most important is how to process the information in front of you. Not only understanding the maneuvers in the pocket but underst