Tom Herman post-practice quotes – 3/8/17

Poona Ford. (Will Gallagher/IT)

Poona Ford. (Will Gallagher/IT)

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“Nobody stood out, offense or defense. Questions. Nobody stood out good or bad. Not running around in underwear.”

“Today was all about practice habits. We have to learn how to run full speed through the whistle, learn how to take the field, learn how to run off the field. We have to learn everything that’s important in winning. I told the offensive and defensive staffs, and in front of the players, plays don’t matter. Because they don’t. I’ve said it time and time again. There’s no secret offense or defense. Teach them how to go hard. It’s the only objective is to go hard. It’s a lot harder to go hard when you’re tired and out of shape, and when it’s period 24, it’s a lot harder. We’re getting there and I think they understood how intense practice is today. The things that we demand and get really, really upset about is effort and ball security. You run a wrong route, I come up to you and say ‘come here, let’s talk about why you ran a wrong route.’ Or you blitz the wrong gap. ‘Come here, Malik, let’s talk about why you blitzed the wrong gap. Well you thought this. Well no, it’s this.’ Or an o-lineman missed his block. ‘Well, well your hand placement was wrong.’ If you loaf on a football field in between snap and whistle, it’s really bad in front of your teammates. If you are loose with the football in between snap and whistle, that’s really bad. Those are our two demands in this program and I think they’re learning that ‘oh my gosh, these guys don’t miss. It’s every play.’”

On how Jordan Elliott did in winter conditioning: “Better than I thought for a guy that for a guy that, if you don’t know he committed and decommitted from 19 different schools including University of Houston. So I know Jordan. We’ve had conversations, long conversations. I was very pleasantly surprised with him in winter conditioning. For as out of shape as he was, he knows how to go hard, which was a big concern of mine. Guys that do all the committing and decommitting are usually not real ‘go hard’ guys. He was impressive in winter conditioning from the pure fact of being so out of shape and yet trying to push him and prove himself.”

On the team grasping the effort the coaching staff demands: “I think it matters how they were wired, how they were coached in high school, how they were raised. There’s some guys – that’s why I like recruiting guys from Katy, and Lake Travis, North Shore, Westfield, Allen … – recruit guys who know how to win championships because last I checked, Katy High has a few Division I signees but there are a few schools that went 7-3, 7-4 that had more. How are they doing that? They’re trained really, really, really well. Some of these guys have that training in them and some have to break some old habits, and some have never been trained that way. It’s a big shovel on the face and it’s going to take a while.”

On the aspect of practice that was the most difficult for the team to grasp: “Stretch. We sprint at the end of stretch 10 yards. That’s it. 10 yards. We do things, we call it “plus 2” around here. Any 10 yard drill should not be pulled up until after 12 yards. They kept pulling up and they kept testing the fence. Buzz! Is it still on? Yes, it’s still on. Lot of you guys were there, right? How many times did I call them back?”

On accountability among the teammates: “There’s no secrets around here. If you’re a bad guy, your teammates are going to know you’re a bad guy. There’s zero preferential treatment. Shane Buechele got disciplined as hard as anybody got disciplined today. That’s the way we do things around here. He was loose with the football and every single offensive coach undressed him. He did up-downs and the whole nine. I’m not sure that’s the way things have been done around here before now, but it’s a good way to know with this coaching staff there’s no favorites.”

On the defensive line: “There’s very little grace in our program. It’s fourth and inches every time you walk in the door. I’ve said many times that you only get five pats in the back around here – one after each bowl win and one when you walk across the stage and graduate. There are certain things in the back of my mind that I know to be true. This isn’t the NFL – there’s no waiver wire. These are our guys and we are going to have to play with them. They know that and Coach Giles knows that. They’re going to do everything they can to be in championship form.”

On if he has as much talent as he did at Houston: “Oh yeah. Way more talent, but its relative. We were the second or third most talented team in the American Conference. I would toss a coin between Temple, us and South Florida probably during the two years we were there. Maybe Memphis when Paxton Lynch was there. What I’m saying is we also play in the Big 12 and not the American Conference, too. I haven’t played a full Big 12 schedule to know whether this talent is good enough to win every game in the Big 12. I know it would be good enough to win every game in the American, for sure.”

On Poona Ford: “Poona Ford is not in shape but he goes really hard. He was the only guy that got a pat on the back today because we make a big deal about every time the defense takes the field, they’ve got to sprint every time. It was the last set of plays in period 24, and his 305 pound butt was hauling you-know-what to the football. I stopped practice and said ’95, who’s 95?’ It’s Poona Ford. I said ‘Poona, come here.’ He was so scared. I’m like ‘no man, you’re good. High five.’ Poona Ford went really hard. He’s not in the best shape but oh boy, it was pretty to watch – as pretty as a 5’11” 305 pound man sprinting could be.”

On how he spends his time during practice: “Probably more with the offense, but I do pursuit drill with the defense because I want them to know how important it is. 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.”

On addressing the team after the stretch period: “What I said to them is that everything matters. We were not going to end that period until every single person on the football team did their sprints completely right. What does that have to do with football? It’s got everything to do with football. Everything. It’s about taking care of the details and putting forth the effort. Those are all things that take zero talent to do and are decisions that are made in your head. I think it made a difference early but as they got tired there was a lot more yelling at coaching effort than there was at the beginning.”

On the team trusting this coaching staff: “I feel very confident. Everybody feels confident. I think it’s the level of commitment from the staff and the people in our organization to never let anything slide. That mentality will be a difference for us. What do they have to lose? If I had lost seven games in three straight years and you told me to jump, I’d ask how high? Something has to change.”