Tom Herman has made it clear on numerous occasions since arriving in Austin: The details matter.
This isn't simply coachspeak from the Texas Longhorns first year head coach. During his first Orange-White spring game on the Forty Acres, Herman's attention to detail — even the smallest of them — was on full display.
Herman and his staff added an extra dimension to Saturday’s spring game warmups — circle drill.
Pushing the Orange and White quads into a violent contact drill just moments before they would play the closest thing to a full football game since last November wasn’t to simply enforce more needless contact.
As we’ve seen throughout the spring, virtually everything revolves around competition and the pre-scrimmage circle drill was no exception. Not so surprisingly after multiple reports have indicated that the defense has absolutely dominated throughout the spring, the Orange squad dominated the White team in the circle drill 6-1 and as a result, the Orange team was awarded three points before the spring game actually kicked off.
It’s something simple, but it’s yet another detail Herman has incorporated into this offseason’s culture change after toughness was often a concern in 2016.
Herman iced his own kicker
Who really takes the time to ice their own kicker in a spring game?
If you guessed Tom Herman, you’re absolutely right.
With one second left in the two-minute drill to close out what became the final first-team offensive drive of the afternoon, JUCO transfer kicker Joshua Rowland lined up for a 31-yard field goal attempt and moments before the snap, Herman called a timeout and applied a more realistic situation to his potential starting kicker’s final attempt.
The kicking game was a considerable concern in 2016 and became the difference in Charlie Strong’s bunch possibly winning two or three more games. But often times under Strong, details were seemingly overlooked and under-emphasized. After Texas dropped five games by just one score last season, and two games by a single field goal, Herman taking the extra time in what was essentially a glorified scrimmage to provide Rowland with the most realistic potential game-winning situation isn’t much of a surprise.
With Herman, every detail matters, as evident in the kicking game where games are often won and lost.
Come back and do it again
By now, you’ve likely noticed how the Longhorns staff requires players to sprint onto the field and to their positions as a unit each time out.
After the second-team offense completed its two-minute drive and the scrimmage was set to conclude, Herman called for the first-team offense to go head-to-head with the first-team defense for the first time during the entire scrimmage from the three-yard-line in a one-play, winner-take-all situation.
With the defense waiting, the first-team offense jogged onto the field, much to the displeasure of Herman. It was the final play of the entire scrimmage and quite likely, something most coaches would have shrugged off after a productive outing on each side of the ball.
Herman isn’t most coaches, though. He called the offense back to the sidelines and after a brief discussion, sent them back onto the field with a bit extra pep in their step.
You lost, so how about some conditioning?
As noted, which has been on display since Herman arrived on campus, everything is about competition and winning reaps rewards while falling short results in punishment.
When the first-team units lined up for the final play of the afternoon with the game on the line, the defense made a goal-line stand to give the Orange squad a 52-51 victory.
Whether you deem it rewarding the Orange team or punishing the White team, the White squad had to complete some additional conditioning drills following the spring game, such as gassers, while the Orange team watched from the sidelines.
Again, this is a minor detail, but much like Herman rewarding the Orange squad for winning circle drill, it displays Herman’s emphasis on competition and beyond that, winning the competition.
If you lose, you’re going to be pushed harder and in a sense, punished for not winning.
Since Herman’s arrival, we’ve seen and heard about his attention to detail and how he’ll nitpick every single aspect of something until it’s perfect, so nothing about Saturday’s scrimmage should come as a surprise.
We’re talking about a coach that, just since his stepping on campus six months ago, has pushed for a multi-million dollar renovation of the football facilities, including a brand new locker room featuring $10,500 lockers, maximized the depth of his staff and brought on a stellar social media team, and even stresses the importance of hydration and urine color.
Did you really expect anything less than Herman icing his own kicker and making the losing team run gassers after the scrimmage?