While Texas Longhorns head coach Tom Herman believes that “culture is what leads when no one is watching,” he also has some strong thoughts about what his skill players should do when everyone is watching.
To be more precise, what they are required to do after scoring touchdowns, which stems from Herman’s belief about what wins football games.
“This game is won up front,” Herman told Trevor Matich in a segment filmed for ESPN. “The essence of this game is to move another human against his will where he doesn’t want to go. It just seems backward to me that we reward these guys that run around on the edges and carry the football.”
“The rule is you must hug a big guy or you’re not going to touch the ball again,” Herman said.
ESPN even has the receipts — a team meeting during which Herman demonstrates that rule, including the high-and-tight ball security that he demands from his players.
“The first person you touch after you score a touchdown, offensive players, must be an offensive lineman,” Herman tells the team. “You grab the ball, you step across the line, the ball gets handed to the official, here comes Collin Johnson... ‘Get out of the way! I didn’t do it, you didn’t do it Collin, get out of the way.’”
For senior wide receiver Jerrod Heard, the rule helps the wide receivers understand the respect they need to have for the big uglies in the trenches. Unfortunately for Heard and Johnson, ESPN has more receipts — a play in overtime against Kansas State when Johnson is the first person Heard touches after catching a touchdown up the middle.
“See, I was guiding him to [Derek] Kerstetter right there,” Johnson says sheepishly.
The demand from Herman is that the skill players do a better job of finding an offensive lineman first. The hope is that those skill players will have more opportunities to do so this season after tying for 46th nationally last season with 50 offensive touchdowns, eight of which came against San Jose State.