The Texas Longhorns made a splash hire on Tuesday by stealing offensive line coach Herb Hand away from the Auburn Tigers by giving him a co-offensive coordinator role in Austin, according to Brett McMurphy and later confirmed by numerous outlets. Hand will also have a role in coaching the offensive line of the Longhorns.
“We are extremely excited and honored to be joining the Longhorn family,” Hand said in a statement. “We had a great situation at Auburn and were very happy there, but the opportunity to come to Austin, to work with Coach Herman and the Texas staff, to be a part of the history and tradition at The University of Texas, it was one we could not pass up.”
”Though we haven’t worked together or personally met before discussing our position, Herb is someone I’ve admired since our teams played each other at Rice and Tulsa,” Herman said. “I was extremely impressed then and have continued to be in the years since. As an aspiring young coach, I spent a great deal of time studying the best offenses around the country, and his group was continually one of them. They were as well coached up front as I’ve seen, so when I was looking to fill our 10th coach position and he was interested, we had a great visit, and we’re thrilled we were able to get him.”
The fills the 10th assistant coach position currently occupied on an interim basis by Assistant Director of Player Personnel Bryan Carrington and puts both offensive coordinator Tim Beck and offensive line coach Derek Warehime on notice.
Unlike most of the hires made by Herman during his stints at Texas and Houston is that he hasn’t worked directly with Hand before. He’s basically hoping that this hire is closer on the spectrum to defensive coordinator Todd Orlando becoming a Cougar than Beck becoming a Longhorn.
“Coach Herman and I had never officially met before we discussed this position, but we had competed against each other several times in the past,” Hand said. “We had developed a mutual respect for each other from afar and had studied each other’s work over the years. So when Tom called to talk about this opportunity, it was easily apparent that we are cut from the same cloth in terms of offensive philosophy and mindset.”
”Herb is a guy who is highly respected for his ability to develop players, build extremely successful offensive line units and help coordinate very successful offenses,” Herman added. “He came strongly recommended by coaches he worked with and is a tremendous addition to our staff.”
Beck drew criticism this year for his play calling, while Warehime’s offensive line group struggled after suffering numerous injuries. It’s not yet clear how Hand and Warehime will split offensive line duties — it’s possible that Warehime decides to move on after National Signing Day. Or perhaps the coaches can co-exist in a new paradigm enabled by the expansion of the coaching staff. This is uncharted territory for college football programs, after all.
Hand’s addition should provide a boost to offensive line recruiting and could even help with a graduate transfer target like Rice’s Calvin Anderson, who was visited by Hand last Friday. At his last two stops, Hand has also landed two consensus five-star offensive linemen.
“Through recruiting over the years, I’ve had the pleasure to travel throughout the state and have developed some great relationships,” Hand said. “I’m looking forward to reconnecting with some former players, old teammates and the high school coaches I’ve met in the past.”
Where he could make the most difference is on offense. Hand has experience with the power spread run by Gus Malzahn at Auburn and Tulsa, the West Coast/power run game hybrid James Franklin used at Vanderbilt and Penn State, and the up-tempo spread run by Rich Rodriguez at West Virginia.
As a result, Hand has a wealth of experience in offenses similar to what head coach Tom Herman brought with him to Austin. The hope is that those similarities allow Hand’s background to mesh with Herman’s vision for the offense.