Herman: 'If I don't, we're going to look up and have a program full of mole hills'

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Wednesday March 08, 2017


Tom Herman knows how important a first impression is, and as he puts it, he has to put out every mole hill.

In his first year at Houston, Herman locked players out of the locker room after some missed tutor sessions. He learned as a young coach to be hard on players at the beginning and easing up later, because the reverse will never work. The same goes with the Longhorns.

“We’re asking them to do things that are self-sacrificing and painful and inconvenient and hard. In order to do that, you can’t miss,” Herman said. “You can’t miss a opportunity to correct a mistake, or else those mistakes grow.

We’ve got a saying, ‘Coach, you’re making a mountain out of a mole hill.’ I know I am. Because if I don’t or we don’t as a staff, we’re going to look up one day and have a whole bunch of mole hills and have a program full of mole hills. You have to stamp them out as soon as you see them and change a young man’s way of thinking. That’s exhausting, but the rewards are unbelievable.”

The Longhorns opened spring practice this week, but the work began in offseason conditioning. Every little detail in every drill had to be there. Especially the first time around.

“What do I want them to know about me is that we don’t miss,” Herman said. “Winning championships is exhausting. Toeing the line is exhausting, but we as a staff are going to make sure that if the drill says full speed through the cone, it doesn’t matter if it’s the 800th rep of that or if it’s hot or if you’re tired or sore. If we say full-speed through the cone and you don’t go full speed, there are going to be consequences for that. That’s exhausting.

You feel like the police out there at times as a coach, but you have to set the expectation level early when developing a culture and a program. I would hope that after 15 practices, they know what that expectation is.”

As for what Herman will do in practice, he’ll spend more time with the offense, given his background. But there’s one drill he must be in attendance for on defense.

“I do pursuit drill with the defense, because I want them to know how important it is,” Herman said. “I can add true coaching value on the offensive side of the ball. When I go over on the defense, I'm more of a cheerleader. In individual, I try to see everybody and make sure they're doing things the right way, going hard and finishing.

“But when we break into team segments, I kind of gravitate towards the offense, because it's what I know. But the very first period after punt is the pursuit drill, and it's the most important drill we do on defense.”

Texas’ spring game is scheduled for April 15.

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to chris@coachingsearch.com.