Tom Herman came off very defensive Thursday.
In the new Texas football coach’s first press conference since he was introduced in late November, Herman was caught off guard when an intrepid reporter playfully questioned why his grocery cart at a local supermarket this week didn’t include more vegetables.
A chuckling Herman responded, “There was a fruit tray.”
It’s very clear that there’s a new coach in command. He wouldn’t be the first to suggest someone who cooks the dinner ought to have some say in buying the groceries.
While he wasn’t all that prepared to buy food for his wife and kids coming to Austin to stay in their temporary, 900-square foot residence, Herman’s in charge of every facet of this program and now has his staff in place. While Charlie Strong hired two assistants with Longhorns connections he didn’t know and another he barely knew, Herman has close ties with his entire staff, nine ambitious assistants that are proven and have strong recruiting connections in the state. That includes 17 years of high school head coaching experience in Texas.
When asked how many of them have head coaching aspirations, Herman said, “They’d better all have it. If they don’t want to be a head coach, why are you doing it? I think all nine aspire to be college head coaches. And it’s one of my jobs to prepare those guys and teach what was taught to me.”
That includes new offensive coordinator Tim Beck, whom Herman targeted as “definitely Plan A” if Houston offensive coordinator Major Applewhite hadn’t succeeded Herman as the Cougars’ head coach.
He took issue with criticism of Beck, calling it “misplaced” and saying Beck comes to Texas with strong endorsements from two people Herman loves and trusts, Ohio State quarterbacks J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones. “They both gave him the big thumbs up.”
Beck will call the plays with “suggestions” from Herman, but needs autonomy because “if I was the OC and head coach, I’d probably be doing both jobs a disservice.”
Both will lean heavily on outstanding running backs coach Stan Drayton as well as strength and conditioning coach Yancy McKnight, whom Herman glowingly called “my soulmate when it comes to coaching.” And that doesn’t even count new staffers he wants in academics and nutrition as well as a lead graphics artist of all things. “I don’t know all the fancy titles,” Herman said, “but we’re going to get an army together.”
All part of the grocery cart, and make no mistake who’s pushing it.