You’ve heard of can’t-miss prospects. Well, Tom Herman is a can’t-miss coach.
Herman, who last year helped Ohio State to a national championship as an offensive coordinator, has led No. 21 Houston to a 6-0 start. True, Herman isn’t the first head coach to do great things for Houston – Art Briles and Kevin Sumlin have both coached there in the last decade – but this time around feels different.
“Well, one thing is for sure: This is a much different, much better job in terms of facility improvement (and) cost of living,” Herman said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “The money that they pay myself and the assistant coaches here – Art Briles took this job for $250,000, and I’ve got three assistants now who make more than that. We’ve got the highest-paid group-of-five staff in the country. So it’s a much better job. It’s much more of a destination job than it probably was at that point. But what’s made it so good along the way has been the fertile recruiting ground in your own backyard and in the great state of Texas. And I think in recent history it’s been the support from the administration in terms of their commitments level to winning.”
Houston doesn’t have a signature win this season just yet, but the offense has been one of the most efficient in the country. Still, just how good is this team?
“You know, it’s funny. I’ve done a lot of interviews the last couple of weeks and you’re the first person that’s asked me that, Doug, so I appreciate that,” Herman said. “I don’t know. We play really hard. We went to Louisville on the road, and although their record might not say it, that’s one of the top 10 defense in the country last year and we put up 34 points on the road, which is something Clemson was unable to do at Louisville’s place. And then we played a couple teams that had been struggling a little bit, so I think we’ll find out how good we really are in the next couple weeks.
“But I do know this,” Herman continued. “Our guys play really hard, Doug. They play for each other, which I found last year at Ohio State really is the ultimate ingredient in winning a championship – to play for the genuine love and happiness of the guy next to you rather than yourself. I think our guys have bought into that and do that and they play really hard. But I’m a little worried about our depth at O-Line. We’ve lost three starters since the beginning of the season to season-ending injuries at the O-Line, so a little bit worried there. But I think our starting 22 right now could compete with anybody in the country. Whether we can stay healthy and continue to develop our depth will determine how good we are.”
Houston plays winless UCF (0-7) on the road this Saturday before hosting three straight against Vanderbilt (2-4), Cincinnati (3-3) and No. 18 Memphis (6-0).
In other news, Herman was asked for his take on the Ohio State quarterback situation – J.T. Barrett will start over Cardale Jones this Saturday at Rutgers – but the Cincinnati native didn’t want to go there.
“I still maintain such a really close relationship with those two young men and Coach Meyer,” Herman said. “When I talk to those kids, I feel like if they talk to 1,000 people, 999 of them want to talk about the QB situation at Ohio State. When they talk to me, I just want to know about how their girlfriend is, how Cardale’s baby is doing, how J.T.’s mom and dad are doing – just real-world stuff. So I try not to get in the middle of it. But I know there’s usually only one that plays, and I don’t know that there’s a wrong answer in the equation.”