Tom Herman did what the University of Washington football team couldn’t on Saturday.
He beat up the Colorado Buffaloes.
Last December, Herman led Texas to a punishing 55-23 Alamo Bowl win over the Pac-12 team and crowned a challenging 7-3 pandemic season by upgrading their postseason ledger to 4-0 with the Longhorns.
His players enthusiastically soaked him in the traditional Gatorade ice bath. The coach enjoyed this celebratory moment in San Antonio two and a half weeks after receiving a public vote of confidence from Texas sporting director Chris Del Conte.
Four days after the bowl game, Herman was shown the door.
The coach and his staff were rightly shocked by the mass layoffs after such an uplifting end to the football season.
The reasons for the sudden change: Herman didn’t win enough, didn’t recruit well enough, didn’t win any championships.
The native Californian worked for four seasons in Austin, Texas, where he put together a 32-18 record, and he was gone.
Herman is still considered a football genius at Ohio State, where he worked as the creative offensive coordinator for Urban Meyer, competed in a national championship, and was named Power 5 Assistant Coach of the Year in 2014.
He can also go to any bar and doesn’t have to buy a drink in Houston, where he led these Cougars to a 13-1 record in 2015 – making it the biggest season in school history.
With all of this in mind, Herman’s name was one of the first to appear as a candidate when Washington fired Jimmy Lake last weekend. It wouldn’t be cheap, but he would most likely find Seattle a good place to continue his enigmatic coaching career.
If the Huskies were to hire him, they might consider Herman to be the person who will later be named in their longstanding coaching business with Texas.
In 1956, Darrell left Royal Washington after a lonely 5-5 season in the lurch to become the Longhorns’ most successful coach in school history and win three national championships.
The UW-Texas coaching connection goes a little deeper than Royal, of course, almost hilarious.
Herman has been replaced by former husky trainer Steve Sarkisian, with her firing and hiring happening concurrently to appease impatient donors. The final straw for Longhorn’s benefactors was Texas-promised quarterback recruit Quinn Ewers, who is considered the No. 1 in the nation and moved to the state of Ohio.
The Longhorns believed that Sarkisian, who had rebuilt his career as offensive coordinator for Nick Saban in Alabama, would be an upgrade over the man they sacrificed without apology and paid $ 15 million in buyout money to leave.
“Circumstances have changed,” was all Del Conte had to offer the AD.
Now look at what their insolence did: those cocky Longhorns big money guys probably got exactly what they deserved.
Sarkisian has been a bust so far.
Amid calls to bring Herman back, fans watched in horror as Sark’s first Texas team won 4-7, much like the Huskies did. The Longhorns have lost six games in a row and gambled away 18, 11 and 11 leads to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Baylor, respectively, in the second half. Sark’s boys even did the unthinkable, stumbling at home against the humble Kansas 57-56 in overtime.
Of course, Herman doesn’t come without a little extra luggage. While socially progressive on behalf of his players and various causes they supported, he angered fans for not taking a stronger position in defending the song “The Eyes of Texas,” which is a trademark of the school, however is seen as racist in the embassy.
Other Texas supporters said they were deterred by Herman’s behavior in the field, which might be a little exaggerated. He reportedly mocked the Missouri quarterback at the 2017 Texas Bowl. He ran onto the field like he was ready to fight Mike Gundy, the Oklahoma state coach in 2018. TV cameras showed the coach head nudging the defensive end of Malcolm Roach ahead of Baylor’s game last season.
Herman was also caught showing two middle fingers on a Longhorn Network camera mounted in the coaching staff meeting room on the day of the national signing. He tried to explain the situation by insisting he tell a story about an Oklahoma fan, but his recruiting critics knew better.
If he does become a serious UW candidate, then no doubt Herman will have to explain himself during the interview process. The school’s image was already sustained when Lake was seen on national television pushing and berating a player for engaging with an opponent on the sidelines.
The bottom line is that Herman should make sure the UW is the right school for him. While he only got 50 games in Texas to show what he can do in Texas and was appalled by it, Lake was banished after only 13 appearances. College football, wherever you go, doesn’t wait for anyone these days.
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