"Not too many years ago they said a passer had to be able to spot his secondary target," Fry explained. "For us, Hixson has to be able to find his third and fourth receivers, and no one could possibly do it better."
The final thing is the matter of his quick release. Most passers have to step forward a little to get the ball away. Not Chuck. He barely moves his left foot, primarily, of course, because some angry lineman has a grasp on it. He just stands there or sways gently and, suddenly, flick. Hixson has shot the ball maybe 40 yards downfield, and right where he aimed it.
Of course, as already suggested, there is quite another thing that will help Hixson shatter the records; this offense that Fry is using, a total commitment to the pass. It started last year in SMU's first game when Hixson completed his first toss from his own end zone. That was against Auburn over in the Southeast where they don't do such things.
SMU was back on its three-yard line when it happened, and when he called the play his teammates looked at their sophomore general as if he'd maybe had his hat stepped on.
"We run it 50 times a day," Chuck said to his team. "It's what we believe in. Let's go." Whereupon he promptly hit 27 passes that day for 283 yards and little old, lowly, underrated, unrespected SMU—long-suffering since the days of Doak and Kyle—became one of the most exciting teams in football, Hixson completing his last pass of the season to upset Oklahoma in the Blue-bonnet Bowl.
That one was probably funnier than his first against Auburn. Chuck had gone to the line of scrimmage and seen Oklahoma's two safeties looking him in the eye. He laughed to himself and did what he usually does, which is call an audible. It was a deep pass to Fleming. Just after he threw, he turned and started for the bench, knowing it was good. And it was.
"A pro coach told me how proud he was last year that his quarterback had called audibles for seven touchdowns," Fry said. "I just didn't have the heart to tell him that Chuck had called audibles for 11 touchdowns. That's how smart he is, along with everything else."
What Hixson does seems to be of far more importance than what SMU does because of the fun-and-thrill war that Hayden Fry feels obliged to wage with the professionals. If that is what college football is up to in its new century, SMU may be the first team to have discovered how to win while losing.