Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman—also referred to as a “quarterback whisperer” these days—landed a rookie coaches’ dream job when accepting to become the next head coach of the Houston Cougars (contract pending) on Monday afternoon, per a report by Bruce Feldman.
Though sources say he’ll be sticking around for the College Football Playoff in January—a true testament to his loyalty to the product—the Buckeyes know they’ll be losing one of the better offensive minds to ever walk through the walls (and the inside of the press box) of the Horseshoe.
The 2014 Broyles Award winner for best assistant coach, Herman’s resume is second-to-none, as his track record for turning quarterbacks into human highlight reels and putting video game-like numbers up on the scoreboard have Cougars fans salivating, as he is the epitome of a “
home run grand slam” hire. And it’s well deserved.
If I was a #Houston fan I’d be thrilled. I think Tom Herman is as close to a ‘Can’t Miss’ as you’re gonna find in a first-time head coach.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) December 15, 2014
So how does Urban Meyer replace the coordinator of three years that helped Ohio State return to national prominence by going 36-3 (24-0 Big Ten) via 42.8 points per game?
Continuity is always the most important factor in a team’s success, and the transition of losing an up-and-coming coach could prove detrimental to some programs and players’ learning curves of a new playbook, scheme, personality in the system, etc. However, with Meyer having established himself as a pure winner at every level of the game—and knowing the ins and outs of the power spread that he helped develop back in the early 2000s—there isn’t a coordinator out there that would be above the vacant position.
That said, Meyer has quite the list to choose from, making the candidacy an interesting venture heading into the 2015 offseason.
Matt Brown of Land-Grant Holy Land shared his thoughts on who he thinks Ohio State will go after, providing names such as Mike Sanford, Jr. (Boise State), Lincoln Riley (East Carolina), Greg Studrawa (Maryland), Seth Littrell (North Carolina), Doug Meacham (TCU), and Jay Johnson (LA-Lafayette) as possible suitors, but believes the best option might be to stay in house with current offensive line coach Ed Warinner.
“Other than Herman, perhaps no member of Ohio State’s staff has been praised more this year than Warinner, who took a line that needed to replace four star members, and turned it into a strength of Ohio State’s offense and the class of the conference once again,” wrote Brown. “Warinner already knows Meyer and Ohio State’s philosophies on offense, he knows the players and the recruiting territories, and giving him a promotion and the requisite bump in salary could go a long way towards making sure Warinner stays in Columbus for a long time. He was a major candidate for the Kansas head coaching position, and others will be sure to call on him in the future.”
Mississippi State and Cincinnati quarterback coaches Brian Johnson and Darin Hinshaw, along with Oregon and Oklahoma State offensive coordinators Scott Frost and Mike Yurcich, among others, are additional names to consider, says Tony Gerdeman of The-Ozone.net.
“As far as what Meyer is looking for in a replacement, I would expect him to try to fit the Herman mold. Young, energetic, strong recruiting ties, with experience as both a coordinator and a quarterback coach,” wrote Gerdeman. “I don’t know that being a play caller is as important this time around because Ed Warinner has a history of being a strong play caller himself, though I know Meyer wants a QB coach to be supremely involved in those decisions.”
And of course, we can’t forget about Nevada’s Nick Rolovich, Arkansas State’s Walt Bell, or Florida’s Kurt Roper—Bleacher Report video analyst Michael Felder’s favorite choice—who all figure to be in the mix for one of the nation’s most touted assistant coaching jobs.
Whether Meyer decides to choose one of these names or pick a diamond from the rough is completely up in the air at this point, but it should be noted that this guys seems to know what he’s doing—there are 11 head coaches at the FBS and FCS levels who once worked under Meyer this season, most notably former OC and current Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen. Heck, maybe Meyer has already made a swift decision and has had a backup plan since the beginning of the season.
Eh, probably not.