Fresh off a College Football Playoff national championship win, former Ohio State offensive coordinator and new Houston Cougars head coach has finally had time to breath and settle into his new position.
Herman spent the last three seasons under Urban Meyer, co-puppeteering a power spread offense that engineered a meager 45.1 points per game over its last 29 games. He also became famous for being the catalyst for developing J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones, the Buckeyes’ second- and third-string quarterbacks that combined to win 14 games and a national title in 2014.
Meyer is known for sending off assistant coaches to become successful head coaches at other FBS programs; Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen, Texas’ Charlie Strong, Oregon State’s Gary Andersen, Utah’s Kyle Whittingham, and Boston College’s Steve Addazio are just a few on a long list.
So what is it that Herman – who probably could speak on all of Meyer’s former assistant’s behalf – took from his last three years while learning from one of the greatest college football coaches of all time?
“Probably, hire people that you trust, and let them do their job,” Herman said on Bruce Feldman’s podcast show last Wednesday. “Don’t try to do too many things all at once. Then make sure, as the head coach, you maintain an unbelievable level of alignment within that staff. Not only the assistant coaches, but everybody from strength staff to academic support to training staff to anybody that touches your players. Make sure they’re aligned completely with your vision and your idea of what the culture needs to be.
“There can’t be different agendas. There can’t be different messages. The main thing was to trust people and make sure you allow them to do their jobs.”
Hired on December 17, Herman immediately began to aggressively hit the recruiting trail in Texas and assemble what looks to be a solid coaching staff – which includes former Longhorns offensive coordinator Major Applewhite – all while preparing Ohio State for the playoffs.
Instead of packing his bags and checking out of Columbus to head over to his new head coaching gig right away – like many others would do (and have done) – Herman’s decision to stick around and help the Buckeyes win a title also helps Houston.
“I think it helped long-term, maybe, and it helps the program two separate ways,” Herman said. “One, with recruits, certainly. We had about two-thirds of our class already committed, so we’re only in the market for six or seven new commitments. It’ll bring credibility to myself and the staff and the fact I’ve been to the mountaintop and seen what it takes.
“Then the overall exposure for University of Houston football, to the general fan and general public will pay dividends in the long-term, just with excitement and buzz leading up to the 2015 season.”
Per 247Sports, Houston’s 2015 recruiting class currently ranks No. 8 in the American Athletic Conference (No. 95 overall) with a total of 16 commits, 11 of which came from former coach Tony Levine’s staff.
But even after finishing 8-5 (5-3 AAC) in a relatively weak conference and starting off with what experts would consider a lower-ranked recruiting class, Herman is sure that the Cougars will excel under his watch.
“When you look at jobs, you don’t look at personnel … you look at, ‘How’s it set up? How’s the administration? Are they committed to winning?’ Everywhere from the chancellor to the athletic director to the training staff – everybody involved.”
Apparently, Houston fits that bill.