Why Were People Worried Tom Herman Would Leave for Texas?
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — With a report from Horns247 Saturday morning that Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman would be staying with the Buckeyes and not heading to Texas, I had to chuckle a bit.
There has been talk since Texas hired Charlie Strong that Herman was a target as the Longhorns' offensive coordinator, but I never paid it much mind, and I certainly never thought to write about the prospects of it happening.
Photo by Dan Harker
Similarly, I also do not write about asteroids that pass within a few million miles of Earth and have absolutely no chance of hitting our fair planet. Also, don't expect me to spend my time asking what would happen if men began sprouting wings and whether or not they would be outlawed from playing football.
For the most part, I prefer to deal in the prospects of reality, which is why I am only now writing about Tom Herman and Texas, and I only do it to explain the reality of the situation.
There has been quite a bit of talk over the last week from Buckeye fans who are worried that they could be losing their offensive coordinator. The prevailing thought was simply that Texas could pay Herman more than Ohio State could, but as I have explained to some, there is only so much money an assistant coach in college football is going to be making.
Currently, the highest-paid assistant coach in college football is Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris, who made $1.3 million this past season. Considering all of the cash floating around the sport right now, there is absolutely no doubt that Ohio State could match anything that Texas would offer to Herman financially, because there's only so much money that Texas would even offer.
Herman reportedly made $555,000 this past season. If Texas offered him $1.35 million, making him the highest-paid assistant in the sport, do you really think Ohio State doesn't have the additional $800,000 per year to match?
Sure, OSU athletic director Gene Smith has said in the past that he doesn't like to get into salary wars with assistant coaches, but it's pretty obvious that he was spoiled by the Jim Tressel Era, when OSU had long-time coordinators who never found themselves involved in the annual coaching carousel.
Smith has adjusted his thinking, and he'll probably have to adjust it even more going forward. Being an assistant coach at Ohio State is a great thing, but everybody has money now, and the industry is much more competitive than it used to be.
Regardless of how much Smith doesn't like the thought of having a million-dollar coordinator, when you have a head coach who makes $4 million, you're kind of locked into an arms race. After leading the greatest offense in Ohio State history, Tom Herman is certainly due a raise, but I'm not sure Smith needs to break into a seventh figure to make Herman happy.
For me, however, this was never a money thing, it was much more of a timing thing. After all, I firmly believe that Herman will be in line for a head coaching job at a BCS school after the 2014 season. If he were to leave at this point, that clock would reset, as Texas would undoubtedly need more of a commitment from him.
Urban Meyer knows that his time with Tom Herman is running out, but Texas wouldn't be so understanding. Any type of new contract with Texas would certainly have a buyout that would cause problems if he was to try and leave after one season.
But when it comes to timing, perhaps the final straw as to why Herman isn't leaving is because quarterback Braxton Miller isn't leaving.
Miller is already the single-most decorated player in Big Ten Football history, with seven individual conference awards, and there is little doubt that he will only add to that vaunted trophy shelf moving forward.
Do the math. Ohio State has a quarterback who, barring injury, will become the most productive player in school history. Texas, on the other hand, will be returning a pair of quarterbacks who combined for 58 completions and 786 yards passing this past season.
One of those quarterbacks – David Ash – will be a senior who has a history with concussions, and the other – Tyrone Swoopes – will be a sophomore who is still very much considered a runner instead of a passer.
Given how hard Herman has worked at turning Braxton Miller into a passer, don't you think he'd actually like to get to reap some of those rewards next season, rather than doing it all over again with somebody else?
Staying at Ohio State was always the logical answer for Tom Herman, which means that if he would have left, it would have likely been an emotional decision. Maybe he's secretly unhappy at Ohio State, but even then he only needs to be secretly unhappy for 12 more months before he can be publicly happy at a large school of his own.
But I don't see Herman being all that unhappy, especially considering the amount of talent that he will have around him next season.
Given all of the reasons for Tom Herman to stay, I'm guessing I'm not the only person to find all of the hoopla surrounding the Texas overtures amusing, as I'm assuming Herman did as well.
Flattery is nice, but at the moment, reality is nicer.
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