NCAA Football

From Ohio State to Houston: New Head Coach Tom Herman Hits the Ground Running

Newly hired head coach Tom Herman is having quite the week.

Fresh off his masterful play-calling performance as offensive coordinator in Ohio State’s run to the national title, Herman took to focusing on his new job almost immediately after the Buckeyes finished dismantling the Oregon Ducks 42-20 at AT&T Stadium in Dallas.

Herman didn’t let the media crush on Ohio State’s win go wasted in support of his new endeavor at Houston.

The Mensa member pulled a brilliant move by donning a red and white Houston hat on the sideline after the game and flashing the Cougar hand sign for the entire world to see.

The picture was almost immediately tweeted out by the official Houston Cougar Football Twitter account and subsequently retweeted over 700 times:

The move drew national attention from Yahoo Sports blogger Sam Cooper among others. Cooper noted Herman pulled the hat from his waistband as soon as the final seconds ticked off the clock.

This guy is sharp.

Clearly, Herman wanted to waste no time getting started on his new gig. On paper, he is the best hire in school history, a statement made more impressive by recent head coaching names which include Baylor’s Art Briles and Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin.

While both of those coaches were thought at the time to be good moves for Houston, neither of them came into the position almost universally praised as a can’t-miss head coaching success the way Herman seems to be.

If anything, neither of them were play-callers for the reigning national champions when they became Houston’s top man.

Grantland’s Matt Hinton ranked Herman No. 4 among recent head coaching hires behind Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh, SMU’s Chad Morris and Pittsburgh’s Pat Narduzzi.

But Herman’s championship postgame move rubbed some of the Ohio State faithful the wrong way.

As noted by CBS Sports writer Jerry Hinnen, former Buckeye running back Maurice Clarett took to Instagram to call Herman a “weenie” in a since deleted post.

But as Hinnen points out, Herman was wise to use the moment to throw some of his spotlight on his next place of employment.

The donning of the cap both acknowledged the program that signed him to a contract to become the head coach without having him quit his post with the Buckeyes during the College Football Playoff and also allowed him a free and preemptive recruiting pitch for the Coogs.

As alluded to by Houston’s Twitter account during the game, what offensive player wouldn’t want to play in a system that wrecked solid defenses in Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon in successive games to win the title?

Houston has a long history of success on the side of the ball Herman specializes in.

Whether it was Bill Yeoman’s run-oriented Veer teams, Jack Pardee’s run-and-shoot offenses, Briles’ spread attack or Sumlin’s air raid, Cougar fans expect and appreciate high-scoring and fun-to-watch offenses on game day.

It’s likely the very reason outgoing coach Tony Levine was given the boot and why interim coach David Gibbs, the outgoing defensive coordinator who had remarkable success at a school not known for stalwart defenses, wasn’t seriously considered for the job.

Herman has his work cut out for him. While Houston’s skill players seem apt to the task, the output of the offensive unit left much to be desired over the past three years under the previous regime. Herman will need to get to work.  

And there’s no rest for the weary.

According to associate athletic director David Bassidy, Herman is already in Houston and ready to hit the recruiting trail.

Bassidy told Bleacher Report that Herman and other coaches will hit the road Wednesday night in preparation for the start of the recruitment period on Thursday and would be out for two weeks to prepare for national signing day on February 4.

So it’s a good thing Herman already has a Houston hat and is accustomed to operating on little to no sleep.

Because it looks like he’ll remain busy for the foreseeable future.


Unless otherwise noted, all quotes and information were obtained firsthand

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