Dear Tom…

Tom Herman (Will Gallagher/IT)

Tom Herman (Will Gallagher/IT)

Dear Tom,

Since you’re taking a few days off after the Texas Tech game, I figured you might need a little reading material to pass the time. Since we both want Texas football to win again, and since I’ve been watching football since about 7-8 years before you were born and therefore I am a Football Expert, I figured I’d write a little note of encouragement, sprinkled with advice as you start looking toward 2018.

You’re welcome.

First of all, great job on the defense. That Todd Orlando guy, he’s a pretty good dude, and in case you haven’t noticed, the coaching carousel has started. You probably need to go ahead and bump up his salary and send him some flavored shattered glass to chew on with those big strong jaw bones while he’s breaking down film. Tell him how great he is, how much you appreciate him, and promise him that if he stays, you’ll fix the offense. Your first duty in the offseason is to keep him around.

Now, about your offense…

Let’s start at quarterback. I know, I know, you’re tired of fretting about your quarterbacks. In fact, you are probably tired of talking about your “quarterbacks” rather than your “quarterback.” This position on the football team needs to be singular, not plural. Honestly, though, 12 games have passed and STILL you have no idea who your starting quarterback will be in 2018.

Neither does anyone else.

One of your quarterbacks is very smart and an accurate thrower, but needs his blood to run hotter if he wants to be THE Texas starting quarterback. The other one is a not-so-accurate thrower whose blood runs so hot that sometimes he forgets down and distance, time remaining, where his team is positioned on the field and the current score.

I’m not going to tell you who to start next year; you’re the Mensa, not me. But if you want to run the ball, start the running quarterback and call running plays. If you want to throw the ball, start the running quarterback and call passing plays. If you want to do both equally, then try one of your new incoming quarterbacks and see what happens. These 2017 quarterbacks have had all season to sell themselves as THE Texas starting quarterback.

Neither of them have sold anyone, so you go ahead and make the decision for them. Make it in the spring. Stick with it. Redshirt your incoming quarterbacks if one of your current two wins the starting job decisively.

Now, let’s talk wide receivers. Next spring, have a “Wide Receivers Night” and take them all out to eat wings or something and give them some tough love, minus the tough. You tried tough this year with this group, and it didn’t work, you made them mad and tight and even a parent or two became perturbed. I know everybody needs to practice correctly, embrace the culture, blah-blah-blah, but if they lead the team in receiving touchdowns, please let them play more minutes. Practice is important. Games are more important.

Finally, loosen up. I know this is difficult at Texas, especially with all of the asinine questions your get every week, fans breathing down your neck, parents tweeting about you, message boards blowing up. But still, you have to figure out a way to let that stuff go as best you can and just be that funny dude that we all know is underneath the serious “I’m wise beyond my years” philosopher behind the podium every Monday. It will be better for everyone: you, your players, even the lowly media.

Go to your nice home, appreciate your blessings, recognize that even if things don’t go well for you, you are truly set for life. Be content enough with that to just bounce to work bumping one of the rap songs you like on what I assume to be a pretty good speaker system in whatever car you drive. Make sure you are a warm fuzzy ball of glowing sunshine every day.

Be the coach at Houston who wore a grill for your players. Be funnier at press conferences. Don’t be so methodical with your answers. Watch some Mike Leach videos, minus the stuff about fat girlfriends and equipment sheds.

I’m here for you.

Mike