Nearly 20 years after his graduate assistant job at the University of Texas, Tom Herman returns to Austin, this time as the boss of the Longhorn’s football program. If the trail of success that has followed Herman everywhere he has traveled since began coaching at Texas Lutheran in 1998, the ‘burnt orange’ faithful soon be proudly waving the ‘hook `em horns’ symbol again.
Herman spent the next decade navigating his way across the Lone Star State, gradually progressing up the coaching ranks with each move, and leaving a trademark of getting the ultimate potential out of players. For the next 5 years, he would bring his prowess as an offensive genius, first to Iowa State and then under Urban Meyer at The Ohio State University.
In 2015, another Texas school saw the immense potential that college football experts regularly discussed, and Herman returned to Texas, accepting his first head-coaching job at the University of Houston. In his two full seasons as the Cougar’s boss, they lost only 4 games, and were undefeated at home and also unbeaten in six games against AP ranked squads.
While the head coach, nor anyone on his staff, will lace up their cleats at go to war on the gridiron next season, there are high hopes our Longhorn program is in the hands of someone who has consistently pried peak performance out of his players.
Our Longhorn squad the last two seasons especially, has been tagged with the label of underachievers. Herman and the staff have talent immediately available in the Longhorn locker room ready to return the program back to national prominence.
We have to dig deep into the Longhorns roster to find 17 seniors on an underclassman heavy team set to open Herman’s first season at the helm. The most intriguing battle as spring practice opens, will be the one for the QB spot in what will surely be one of the nations most electrifying offenses; a Herman trademark.
Shane Buechele impressed with a Longhorn record-breaking freshman year, but a talented freshman has been welcomed to Austin by the name of Sam Ehlinger. Ehlinger’s work ethic and leadership charisma have Herman silent about who he feels will operate behind center next fall.
Herman has a history of producing some of the most talented offensive players at every level he has been on staff. With seven returning starters from last year’s offense, we will get to see which of these players Herman will target.
With a new sheriff in Austin, everyone on the Longhorn squad will need to take their game to a higher level, especially on offense. One of the most intriguing will be a former quarterback turned wide out, Jerrod Heard. There’s some clear indication that Herman will work plays into the Longhorn offense that slot Heard behind center on occasion.
With a pair of talented quarterbacks and versatile set of wide receivers, Herman will also be looking for huge things from the running back spot. Chris Warren III will be playing with a chip on his shoulder, coming back from injury following a freshman record 276 yard/4 TD final game of the 2015 season. The tools are in place for Texas to explode onto the national scene offensively in Herman’s first year.
On defense, Texas will bring back eight returning starters, but Herman has already voiced concern on the defensive line. Defense will be a prime focal point in spring practice. More than a dozen returning Longhorns saw a lot of time on defense last year. Also, consider that the Longhorns were tagged by SB Nation as having the #1 stable of returnees in the country and both sides of the ball look strong.
It’s a given that Tom Herman has been successful everywhere he has coached. He steps into a head coaching position at the University of Texas, where the corral is full of untapped talent. Longhorn fans should be ready to twirl their ‘hook `em horns’, because UT football is ready to shake the underachiever label next fall.