As Texas Longhorns head coach Tom Herman likes to say, he hasn’t had any requested upgrades or increases to personnel staff denied by athletic director Mike Perrin since taking over the job in late November.
On Thursday, Sports Illustrated published a piece by Pete Thamel that took a dive into the changes going on around Texas football changes, which Herman has made in an effort to make the Longhorns more competitive with other top national programs in facilities and personnel staff.
Included in the piece are some official numbers on how much Texas is spending and where that money is going.
Nearly $10 million
These are the changes being made to facilities at the request of Herman. In early January, Herman, Perrin, associate athletic director Arthur Johnson, and director of football operations Fernando Lovo did a walk-through of the football complex.
As a result, Herman developed a three-point plan to upgrade the graphics in the football complex, renovate the Moncrief-Neuhaus athletic complex, and upgrade the weight room. The program will also update the training room.
The locker room received updates in 2011, but other than, Texas has largely been stagnant in making much-needed changes to the facilities, which create some problems:
The first changes that will be noticeable at Texas are the cosmetic ones. There’s the football offices, which currently look like a knockoff of a Teddy Roosevelt hunting lodge. They include chairs in some assistant coaches offices covered in cow skin and giant murals that romanticize steer. In the area around the team meeting rooms, the wallpaper gives off all the modern vibes of a YMCA swim center. Mercifully, the wallpaper with orange cubes straight from the Atari era has already been ripped down.
Ouch. But that’s fair, as former head coach Mack Brown might say.
Let’s break down that “nearly $10 million” a little bit further:
$2,000,000 — Amount that Texas is spending on updating the graphics in the facilities.
$3,000,000 — Amount the Longhorns will spend to upgrade the locker room.
$1,500,000 — Amount that Perrin committed to upgrading the weight room.
$1,000,000 — Money allocated for the training room.
Herman also added two full-time staffers to the one-man video staff. The three staffers tasked with creating graphics, video, and handle social media for the Longhorns.
Edits like this one posted by key Texas defensive tackle target Keondre Coburn are the result of that investment:
The staff is also producing the typical videos by holdover Derek Ochoa:
Herman has also created four new positions — two for support staff focused on recruiting efforts, a sports scientist, and a position handling high school relations.
Since Herman is always interested in analytics, the sports science position could be an important one, as Texas has not focused at all on sports science in recent years. The position could track how far players run in a game, how many concussive and sub-concussive impacts they receive, and help manage the physicality of practices to keep players from getting injured.
Other programs, like Clemson and Stanford, use virtual reality to help players experience game-like situations. So perhaps it was no surprise that Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson was able to rip part the Crimson Tide defense when faced with blitz situations in the fourth quarter, completing 6-of-7 passes for two touchdowns.
So don’t be surprised if Herman makes a call to STRIVR Labs, which pioneered the technology and now counts 13 FBS teams and six NFL teams as clients.
After years of mom-and-popping it, from Mack Brown to Charlie Strong, the Longhorns are finally trying to act like the Joneses again. It’s not going to be cheap, but what’s the point of having the highest athletic department revenues in the country if the football program is going to continue to languish in what amounted to institutional neglect from the athletic department down to the coaching staff?
Fortunately, and even if Herman doesn’t manage to win games in Austin, he’ll leave the program in better shape then he found it in key areas., In fact, the progress in less than three months has already been significant and important for the future of Texas football, which is now brighter than it was on that Friday afternoon in late November when the sun set on Strong’s final loss as a Longhorn.