Tom Herman and Houston’s win over Louisville could end up being the nail in Charlie Strong’s coffin at Texas. Herman has once again proven himself to be the coach the Longhorns can ill-afford to miss out on.
The Eyes of Texas are upon Tom Herman.
After Houston’s shellacking of Louisville, Bobby Petrino and Heisman-frontrunner Lamar Jackson on Thursday night, Herman is now, more than ever, in focus for the Longhorns.
In his last 12 games, Herman has recorded wins over Jimbo Fisher, Bob Stoops and Petrino, with Thursday’s victory being his second in as many seasons against Petrino. That’s three of the best coaches in the game, two with national championships, whom Herman has humbled in primetime. Moreover, he’s done so with a less-talented team and a program that pales in comparison to the major players.
Just imagine what he could do with the burnt orange backing.
Texas still has Charlie Strong, who is a very good football coach, at the helm, but it’s hard to back Strong based on his lackluster numbers in Austin. He currently has the worst winning percentage in Longhorns history, and would need to win the last two regular season games to climb out of the basement.
Some may argue the program’s recruiting is heading in the right direction and that Strong just needs more time. It can also be argued that the University of Texas recruits itself, and that anyone with a dynamic personality can step right in and pull top-flight talent.
Herman’s latest win, and overall resume, aren’t helping the Longhorns’ incumbent out at all. Houston’s dismantling of Louisville may just be the nail in the coffin for Strong’s tenure at Texas.
Imagining a world without Herman, Strong may be provided one more year with the Longhorns. But, as Herman proved again on Thursday night with the nation watching, missing out on him is an option Texas can ill afford.
There are good coaches, and then there are great coaches. Based off of what we’ve seen, Herman has the makeup of the latter. Also working in his favor is that he’s seen the inner workings of a premier football program in need of a fast reboot. Herman was with Urban Meyer at Ohio State from Day 1, and quickly brought structure to a program coping with NCAA sanctions. He understands all of the distractions, obstacles and politicking that comes with being at a big-time program.
Strong, meanwhile, is muddling through another .500 season after putting up 6-7 and 5-7 records in his first two. Those were excusable, but the third year is when it’s all supposed to start clicking for a new coach. One of the frustrations with Strong has been that, while he has made the appropriate changes, he takes too long to make decisions. It took until Year 3 to hire an effective offensive coordinator, and it took the Longhorns allowing 47+ points in three of the first four games this season for Strong to wrest defensive play-calling duties from Vance Bedford.
In Herman’s case, things click quickly. He has set a precedent of immediacy, something that has become a necessity in the microwave climate of modern college athletics. Fair or not, Herman’s success has indirectly forced the hand of the Texas regents and administration.