Preview 2017: Texas Needs To Win Now Under Tom Herman
Tom Herman? He’s the hot head coach, but Texas had better be right.
You’d better be right, Texas.
You supposedly have all the money in the world – or more than any other college football program.
You had your pick of just about any college coach you wanted to throw goofy money at, and a few pro guys, too.
And you picked Tom Herman.
You picked the guy who lost to a bad UConn team two years ago – just like previous head man Charlie Strong did with a fantastic Louisville team in 2012 – ruining a possible invite into the College Football Playoff.
You picked the guy who had the CFP right there for the taking after demolishing Oklahoma to start last season, and later lost to Navy, got blown out by SMU, and lost to Memphis to finish third in the division of a Group of Five conference.
Go ahead, name a college football head coach who flopped as badly as Herman did with a team good enough to destroy OU and Louisville last season, and then fell up to a gig as amazing as this.
Yeah, Texas, you’d better be right – and right away, because there’s absolutely no honeymoon period with the heater Herman has been dealt.
You want the comp? You really want to do this?
Rich Rodriguez – a controversial hire – was in charge of changing up the culture and makeup of Michigan after he took over for Lloyd Carr in 2008. He struggled mightily in a disappointing three years, working to build up the talent base and totally rebuild the powerhouse program.
And then Brady Hoke stepped in and went 11-2 with a Sugar Bowl win.
Strong was at Texas for three years. A controversial hire, he was in charge of changing up the culture and makeup after he took over for Mack Brown in 2014. He struggled mightily in a disappointing three years, working to build up the talent base and totally rebuild the powerhouse program.
But Strong had his shot.
Yeah, Strong might have left a loaded team going into 2017, but his defenses never seemed to improve. The whole “need to get tougher” line isn’t pandering rhetoric coming from Herman – the D flat-out couldn’t tackle – the big wins weren’t there when Strong needed them the most.
Texas was 5-4 going into the final stretch of two home games and a freespace of a road date. End with three wins, go 8-4 with six wins in the final seven games, go to a bowl, and be the hot team going into this year.
So what happened with the season and the era on the line?
24-20 home loss to West Virginia, inexplicable gack on the road to Kansas, bowl-game-on-the-line 31-9 clunker against a mediocre TCU, 5-7 record and gone.
What’s left from the rubble? How about 17 returning starters and an all-star punter, loads of depth, and a program that appears ripe to turn the corner and become special again?
The offensive line might just be the best in the conference, and the defensive front – put through the paces to be quicker and more athletic – should be far better. There’s talent, depth, athleticism, and NFL skill to build up.
All Herman has to do is step in and coach it up.
Herman may very well be the next Urban Meyer or Nick Saban. He’s the red-hot head coaching prospect at the moment for a reason, but not all that long ago, so was Will Muschamp. So was Kevin Sumlin. So was Charlie Strong.
So was Brady Hoke.
There’s no blaming the previous regime for anything. There’s no excuse to not get to the Big 12 Championship Game and beat Oklahoma along the way – again, the guy pulled it off last year.
And there’s no reason for Texas fans to demand anything less than greatness from their new head coach in his first year.
You got your guy, Texas. Now win really, really big with him, and later, because of him.