Former Texas coach Tom Herman has a new job, and it is one that certainly came out of nowhere.
The Chicago Bears announced Monday that Herman has been hired as an offensive analyst and special projects coach, joining Matt Nagy’s staff for the 2021 season. The Bears offered few details as to what Herman’s job will entail or what departments he may be focusing on.
Herman lands on his feet after four seasons as Texas head coach. He went 32-18 at the school, but was unable to turn the Longhorns into the national title contender they hoped and expected to be. Still, he has a strong track record, having previously gone 22-4 in two years as Houston’s head coach following a stint as Urban Meyer’s offensive coordinator at Ohio State.
Herman has never worked at the NFL level, so this should be an interesting transition. He’ll be tasked with helping to improve an offense that had some really baffling issues in 2020.
The Texas Longhorns stunned the college football world Saturday morning with a bombshell coaching change.
The school announced the firing of Tom Herman on Saturday with little warning. They later announced that Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian is their new head coach.
This is a shocker, as the Longhorns had said they’d be sticking with Herman for 2021 less than a month ago. At the time, that was thought to be largely because the school could not find a good enough replacement to justify firing Herman. Clearly, that either changed, or the athletic department reassessed and felt that someone like Sarkisian was worth the risk.
Firing Herman won’t come cheap, as Texas will pay roughly $24 million to buy out both him and his staff.
Sarkisian has a 46-35 record as a college head coach between Washington and USC. He’s been Alabama’s offensive coordinator for the last two seasons, where his stock has risen significantly.
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The Texas Longhorns finished their season in a strong way on Tuesday, but questions surround Sam Ehlinger.
The Longhorns senior quarterback was knocked out of the Valero Alama Bowl game against Colorado with a shoulder injury. He went 10/16 for 160 yards and a touchdown before being replaced by Casey Thompson.
Though this was Ehlinger’s senior season, he has the option to return next fall due to eligibility rules changes for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Texas coach Tom Herman talked about Ehlinger after his team’s 55-23 win and praised the quarterback for an “indescribable” influence on the team. Herman also said he didn’t know about Ehlinger’s future.
Ehlinger is second in school history in career passing yards and passing touchdowns behind Colt McCoy. He would be poised to add to those stats if he returned next year.
It sounds like Tom Herman is getting another year as Texas head coach.
Longhorns athletic director Chris Del Conte issued a statement on Saturday meant to address speculation about Herman’s job status. Del Conte says policy is to assess the program at the end of the season, but conclusively states that Herman will remain the team’s coach.
“My policy is to wait until the end of the season before evaluating and commenting on our program and coaches. With the close of the regular season, I want to reiterate that Tom Herman is our coach,” the statement says.
Two key realities likely worked in Herman’s favor. The first is that firing Herman and his assistants would cost the Longhorns roughly $25 million. The second is that their top target to replace Herman turned them down, leaving the Longhorns with no obvious replacement that would constitute a clear upgrade.
Herman has gone 31-18 at Texas, but has failed to propel them into the top tier of college football programs once again in terms of results. He hasn’t always gotten the strongest vote of confidence from his players, either. However, the circumstances mean he’s going to get at least one more year to try to make good on his efforts to turn the Longhorns into a playoff team.
As impressive as it was, Texas’ 69-31 win over Kansas State is unlikely to do anything to quiet the speculation surrounding Tom Herman’s job status. Herman knows that, but he has his own way of ignoring it.
After the game, Herman was asked how he handles the various rumors about his job status. His answer indicated that he’s not really interested in engaging with those rumors.
“When you don’t get on the internet and you stick to Yahoo News and Words with Friends and the Chive app when you’re bored, you tend to stay above the fray a little bit,” Herman said, via Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman.
There isn’t really any good answer for Herman to give here. He gains nothing from fueling the rumors, so batting away the speculation is the best he can do. That said, we’re betting even he took note of this quote his quarterback offered last week.
The Texas Longhorns continue to be a program with decent results but championship aspirations, and that’s led to major frustrations in Austin.
Texas’ loss to Iowa State on Friday dropped them to 5-3 on the season. With two winnable games to go, a 7-3 finish remains possible, but this is a program that expects to contend for the College Football Playoff. That once again won’t be happening in 2020, and it has led to speculation about coach Tom Herman’s job status.
Quarterback Sam Ehlinger is among the most frustrated. When asked if Herman was getting the most out of the players or if coaching is the issue, Ehlinger offered up a very honest response.
“That’s the million dollar question everybody’s trying to figure out the last 10 years,” Ehlinger said, via Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman.
Therein lies the problem. Herman was brought in as the guy who would answer that kind of question. The fact that it’s still being asked doesn’t bode well for him.
Herman himself had a different response to questions about his future with the Longhorns.
Tom Herman had to answer a difficult question after Texas’ 23-20 loss to Iowa State on Friday.
The Longhorns took an early 10-0 lead in the game and led 20-10 in the third quarter. A questionable decision to go for it on fourth down instead of kicking a field goal late hurt the Longhorns. They ended up missing a 57-yard kick in the final seconds in attempt to tie the game.
After the game, Herman was asked whether he is still the man for the Texas job. He said that wasn’t for him to decide, but he feels great about the program’s direction.
That type of response will be met with groans from Texas fans. Herman is in his fourth season as Texas’ head coach and is 5-3 this year. While the program has definitely improved since he took over from Charlie Strong, Herman is falling short of where Texas wants to be. On top of that, he has been losing top recruits.
Those with the power at Texas will be making the decision about whether Herman continues to keep the job. The Longhorns finish their season at Kansas State and at Kansas, giving them a chance to go 7-3.
Texas head coach Tom Herman made a questionable decision to not take an easy field goal late in his team’s game against Iowa State on Friday, and it proved to be costly.
The Longhorns were leading 20-16 midway through the fourth quarter when their drive stalled at the Iowa State 13-yard line. Rather than kicking a field goal to give his team a 23-16 lead, Herman opted to go for it on 4th-and-2. Texas was stuffed and turned the ball over on downs.
Herman’s call initially didn’t appear to hurt Texas, as their defense forced a punt on the ensuing drive. However, Texas then went three-and-out and punted it back to Iowa State. The Cyclones scored a touchdown on that drive to take a 23-20 lead with just 1:44 remaining in the game.
That 1:44 wasn’t enough time for Texas to secure a game-winning field goal. They moved the ball down the field, but quarterback Sam Ehlinger took a bad sack near midfield and turned a reasonable field goal attempt into a 57-yarder, which sailed wide left.
Had Herman taken the three points earlier in the fourth quarter, the worst-case scenario for Texas likely would have been overtime. Going for it on 4th-and-2 doesn’t sound crazy, but the Longhorns would have been in better shape if they took a 23-16 lead at that stage in the game.
Texas had a chance to stay alive for the Big 12 Championship Game with a win, so the loss to No. 13 Iowa State was particularly painful.
All eyes will be on Herman now down the stretch. Texas is 5-3 on the season and 30-18 under Herman overall. The coach has drawn criticism from Texas alumni and fans this year. It would not be a shock if he is fired before the end of the season.
Former Texas Longhorns safety DeShon Elliott threw some shade at Tom Herman during the team’s loss against Oklahoma on Saturday.
The Longhorns lost 53-45 to Oklahoma in four overtimes at the Cotton Bowl in Texas. During the game, many Longhorns fans were frustrated, especially when the team was down 31-17 before making a comeback.
Elliott, who played at Texas from 2015-2017, expressed his dissatisfaction while following the game.
Elliott played two seasons under former Texas coach Charlie Strong. His final season before he turned pro was under Herman in 2017.
Herman is in his fourth season at Texas and has the team 2-2 this year. He’s had one good season (10-4 and a Sugar Bowl win in 2018), and two mediocre seasons. The results during his tenure have not been satisfactory for Texas’ expectations, but there is little doubt that he has had more success than Strong.
Strong was 16-21 over three seasons and never had a winning year. Herman has gone 27-17 so far. Herman’s record isn’t good enough, but that doesn’t change that Strong was not a good coach who deserved to be fired, contrary to whatever point Elliott was trying to make.
Regardless, Elliott isn’t alone in his frustration with the program.
Tom Herman expects there to be a college football season this year.
Herman appeared as a guest on the “Tiki and Tierney Show” on CBS Sports TV and Radio Tuesday and talked about the possibility of a season.
“I expect a season, yes. What that season looks like when it starts, I don’t know. In terms of having a season, I really do [think it will happen]. I believe that our fans need it, our department needs it, our players need it. Will it start on time? I sure hope so. I think we’re all working under a model of whenever it is safe to start, we would need about six weeks: a two-week assessment and reconditioning of our guys, and then a four-week training camp as usual,” Herman said.
The Texas Longhorns coach believes if the season needs to be pushed back, conferences might reduce their schedules and only play conference games.
He also addressed the question if someone tests positive for the coronavirus.
“We’re going to have to find a way to sequester our team, support personnel, and coaches to limit our interaction with the outside world. At the same time, I don’t know that we’ve necessarily talked about if a player does test positive, the ramifications on the entire team and organization… I do envision some sort of quarantine or sequestering of our team and really entire organization to mitigate their exposure to anybody else that might test positive.”
There are still numerous details to work out, as Herman’s answer shows. The NCAA president has said they will not have fall sports unless schools are safe enough for students to be on campus. But if Herman thinks there will be a season, then that means he is expecting there to be college in the fall.