Following an extended exchange with Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman during Monday’s press conference, Texas Longhorns head coach Tom Herman turned to the camera and addressed fans directly.
“Fans, the minute this offense gets a hangnail, blame me and the offensive staff,” Herman said.
The statement was in response to more questions about the play-calling situation on offense. Throughout the offseason, Herman has maintained that the Longhorns will use a collaborative approach and that he reserves the right to veto any play calls.
However, Herman has not said whether he will take over the offense himself to call plays, as he did in the Texas Bowl victory against Missouri.
“It’s the same that went into the decision last year,” Herman said. “There is not a play that gets called or suggested that does not have veto power by the head football coach, Tom Herman. I will be in charge of making sure the plays we run are the plays that we, as well as our staff, will be the most successful in said situation. So who’s saying ‘Deuce Right Zone Up Left’ is irrelevant. The responsibility of the offense’s performance ultimately lies with me.”
The comments shed further light into how Herman believes that head coaches should handle situations when coordinators come under criticism, especially when the head coach and the embattled coordinator both have backgrounds on the same side of the football.
Urban Meyer “took up” for Herman at Ohio State, as did Paul Rhoades at Iowa State. Herman did the same for Major Applewhite when they were at Houston. The criticism that coordinators are subjected to is “absolutely unfair,” Herman believes.
Underlying his belief is the reality that game plans are collaborative affairs formed throughout the offseason, during game week, adjusted in game between series. And that’s the same way across all of college football.
“This is Texas’ offense,” he said. “This isn’t Tim Beck’s offense. Just like it was Houston’s offense and not Major Applewhite’s offense. It was Ohio State’s offense and not Tom Herman’s offense. That’s not how it works in college football. It really doesn’t.”
Herman went on to sarcastically wonder if things are different in professional football.
“Maybe they’re hired guns and they come in and bring in their own offense, and all the assistants, they just, I guess, play cards during the day and show up to babysit their players at practice, and the offensive coordinator hands them a game plan and says, hey, this is what we’re going to do, and everybody stays silent on the headset on game day and this guy just calls the plays,” Herman said.
All of it amounted to a strong defense of Beck’s performance last season and an attempt to head off any criticism this year.
“You know, the two voices that will be heard throughout a series on a play-by-play basis will be mine and Tim Beck’s.”
Just remember to blame Herman and not Beck when that first hangnail happens.