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After Texas head coach Tom Herman seized playcalling duty from offensive coordinator Tim Beck for the victory over Missouri in the Texas Bowl, the question of who would call the offense in Herman’s second season in Austin became one of the main offseason storylines.
Each time the question was asked, Herman tried to diminish the importance and even the relevance of who specifically the playcaller was. In the spring, Herman mentioned that Beck would be “evaluated” and would determine if he could carry the responsibility of program leading and playcalling.
Throughout the period of time where playcalling was in question, Herman often rebutted that the process was a “collaborative one” where the entire offensive staff had a hand in the process with Herman holding final approval and veto power.
In his Monday press conference, Herman tried to clear what seemed to be murky waters regarding who was in control of the offense by telling reporters the entire offensive staff will continue to be a part of the playcalling process. The answer was similar to almost every other occasion he’s received the question.
“There is not a play that gets called or suggested that does not have veto power by the head football coach Tom Herman,” Herman said. “So I will be in charge of making sure that the plays that are run are the plays that we feel as an offensive staff are the ones that will be the most successful in said situation.”
Herman has a clear philosophy when it comes to his offense. He tried to hold true to that philosophy last season because he said it was how he wanted his program to be built. He did so at the cost of temporary success so he could build the template for lasting success at a job he intends to be at for many years.
As a result, when the offense constantly failed to succeed, the fan base came to the conclusion that Beck simply was unable to call a successful play. Herman decided in the bowl game to put himself in the offensive staff’s shoes in order to see what they went through in trying to coordinate an offense in the 2017 season.
When he was asked once again to clarify who had the playcalling duties, which in the college football world often means clarifying who should bear the brunt of the blame, Herman put the onus upon those who are part of the collaborative effort.
“Fans, the minute this offense gets a hangnail, blame me and the entire offensive staff,” he said staring directly into the camera.
This type of strategy isn’t a new tactic for Herman. He took up for Beck last year, took up for Major Applewhite while he was at Houston, and had Urban Meyer and Paul Rhoads take up for him while he was at Ohio State and Iowa State.
Herman’s predecessor, Charlie Strong, took responsibility for problems and even failures on the defensive side of the ball, claiming after relieving Vance Bedford of his duties that he would “fix the defense.”
The similar responsibility now rests upon Herman for the offensive side of the football, despite telling reporters he didn’t know anything about his predecessor’s struggles.
“This is Texas’ offense. This isn’t Tim Beck’s offense,” Herman said. “Just like it was Houston’s offense and not Major Applewhite’s offense. It was Ohio State’s offense and not Tom Herman’s offense. That’s not how it works in college football. It really doesn’t.”