Herman underplays Meyer issue, talks QB situation

Tom Herman (Will Gallagher/IT)

Tom Herman’s postgame comments following the season opening loss against Maryland inspired comments from his former boss, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer.

Meyer said Herman’s comments about sprinkling “some fairy dust” to fix the problems facing the program was something he vehemently disagreed with. Meyer called it “like a new generation of excuse” and said Herman received “a dose of reality” when Maryland scored 51 points on the Longhorns.

The first thing Herman was asked about at his Thursday availability were Meyer’s comments. Herman seemed to want the issue to go away.

“I don’t have any,” Herman said about his response. “I don’t have time to worry about comments made by somebody else about their program. I’m worried about our program and winning the game. Anybody that’s been around me and our staff for the last nine months knows that we’ve never disparaged the previous staff or our current players.”

A follow-up question asked Herman to confirm he didn’t felt like he threw players under the bus. Herman asked for the next question.

The conversation quickly turned to an important on-the-field matter; who would take snaps at quarterback Saturday versus San Jose State?

Herman said sophomore Shane Buechele did not throw in practice Thursday, but did show improvement in his health in the past 24 hours.

“This thing will go down to game time I would imagine,” Herman said. “We couldn’t ask for better preparation from a guy that’s not throwing the football to be doing the things that he’s doing rep after rep, play after play has been encouraging. If he’s ready to go and the doctors say he’s ready to go, then he’ll play.”

Offensive coordinator Tim Beck said Wednesday he could put Buechele in the starting role even with limited practice because of his experience last year.

Herman echoed his coordinator’s sentiment.

“I think Coach Beck said it yesterday,” Herman said. “It’s a guy that has 13 starts under his belt. He’s not a freshman anymore. The way that he has prepared throughout the week, if he’s physically ready. There’s no doubt in my mind he’ll be mentally ready.”

Even so, he’s a guy that has not practiced with the first team, or with anyone, this week. Those reps have gone to freshman Sam Ehlinger.

Herman said Ehlinger and Buechele were pretty similar, with Ehlinger being “probably a step faster of a runner.” He did note he’s not sure if he wanted Ehlinger running a lot considering the situation.

Per Herman, Buechele has not been sitting and watching practice. Instead, he’s been helping Ehlinger out along the way.

“Again, he’s a good 4-5 yards behind Sam and if he sees something good or bad that he feels like he needs to tell Sam then he does,” Herman said. “Coaches him when he needs corrections and encourages him when he does well. It’s been good to see.”

With the situation being what it is, junior wide receiver Jerrod Heard has received some reps at quarterback. Heard moved from quarterback to receiver last season, but was fired up when he was told he would be throwing the ball some this week.

“He was excited,” Herman said. “Jerrod is a great team guy. A guy that understands we need to do whatever we can to win a football game. He’s willing to do whatever he can to help his team win.”

Looking ahead, Herman said that if Buechele were unable to play Saturday, he’d have an opportunity to get his position back during the week of practice for USC.

“He’ll have every opportunity to earn it again,” Herman said. “We don’t treat that position much differently than any other in terms of you’ve got to go out and perform on a daily basis for your teammates in practice for you to start and play on Saturday. There’s no doubt in my mind that Shane will do that.”