Ketch's 10 Thoughts From the Weekend (The thing I like most about Herman...)

Discussion in 'Ketch's 10 Thoughts From the Weekend Archive' started by Ketchum, Mar 11, 2018.

  1. Ketchum

    Ketchum Resident Blockhead
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    [​IMG]

    Details matter.

    Infrastructure matters.

    Planning matters.

    When having a discussion last week with a Texas administrator about the state of the football program, I was quizzed about the aspect of Tom Herman's job performance from the last year that I appreciated the most and my immediate answer pointed to something that was only indirectly related to football.

    It's all that stuff that matters behind the scenes that doesn't get nearly the amount of attention as the 12 Saturdays in the fall, but matters so much in the bigger picture when trying to build an annual championship-level program.

    I asked the administrator if he'd rather have had the football team win 10 games with no assurances of what's happening behind the scenes or take a 7-6 season, while knowing that what's happening behind the scenes is a well-oiled, details machine?

    After chuckling, he joked, "I know what you're going to say, but I'll take the wins. If the wins were there, we wouldn't be talking about the details in the program because everyone would be talking about the wins. I'll assume the details are being handled just fine if the details that got to 10 wins worked just fine."

    Except flashes in the pan occur all the time, I told him. Exhibit A - Kevin Sumlin.

    Sometimes what happens overnight is actually lightning that isn't captured in a bottle. Sometimes it's as good as it will ever get. Sometimes success doesn't happen overnight.

    It takes more than Xs and Os. It takes having a masterful blueprint.

    When the Longhorns were rolling under Mack Brown, few coaches in the program mastered the details better than the future Hall of Famer. Yet, when things started to go sideways in 2010, it wasn't created by Mack not being able to emotionally handle the loss to Alabama in the national championship game, as much as it was his lack of attention to detail to many areas of his program in the years predating that game.

    The problems in the strength and conditioning program, the development issues with offensive linemen, unforced changes to offensive ideology and recruiting strategies were all things that people quietly discussed in real time and when enough problem areas begin to stack up, the bill is going to show up at some point.

    And it did.

    Meanwhile, my biggest issue with Charlie Strong was that as the Michel Scott of College Football, he was about winging it old school-style and figuring out his decision-making process on the fly, which means you might have a huge summer event without an official date until the actual summer had already arrived or a decision to keep the worst recruiting coach on the previous staff for ... wait for it ... recruiting purposes. Or not feel comfortable recruiting multiple classifications of high school prospects at the same time. Or kick-off twice to start a half in the same game.

    Or all of it.

    What I dig about Herman is if he and his staff can figure out the football stuff, which I believe they can and will, his OCD-level of detailing in building the foundation of the program will help propel the direction of things into the stratosphere.

    I don't have a single nitpick on his approach and planning towards recruiting, both on the in-state and out-of-state levels. The modernization of the program is light years ahead of where it was before his arrival, from the planning and execution of new facilities to the complete social media overhaul that has occurred. As I mentioned in my review of his (almost) first 500 days in office, Herman checks off a ton of boxes.

    The weekend haul of Rice transfer Calvin Anderson and Cuero superstar athlete Jordan Whittington was a reminder of that.

    The only thing the program is missing at this point is the actual wins and the right volume of them that will make almost everyone focus on the wins and not all of the other things that surround them.

    Except for me, of course.

    Someone has to be the nitpicker of the details when all of the winning starts to take place, should the details ever need to be nitpicked.

    Details matter.

    Infrastructure matters.

    Planning matters.

    No. 2 – The elephant in the room ...
    [​IMG]


    Who is the best returning offensive lineman from last year on this Texas team?

    Is it Derek Kerstetter? Is it Patrick Vahe? Elijah Rodriguez?

    Does it really matter who you select?

    The reason Calvin Anderson's announcement of his intention to transfer to Texas is so important is that it's going to take Herb Hand having better players before the offensive line issues are completely solved because smoke, mirrors and coaching voodoo can only take a group of players so far.

    Before Saturday, the Longhorns didn't have a natural left tackle on the roster that anyone could reasonably project as a rock-solid starting option going into the season.

    Anderson's arrival solves that glaring hole. While he might not have the playing chops of a first- or second-day NFL Draft prospect, Anderson does project as a guy that will likely be drafted and have a chance to carve out an NFL career when he's done playing.

    Is he all-Big 12 first-team good? I don't know. Is he immediately the best offensive linemen on the team? Absolutely.

    The Texas football team got better on Saturday because it received the best transfer the school has received since Brian Jones left UCLA for Austin in the late 80s. It's been a looooong time since such a talent has transferred into the program.

    Now Hand can focus on the suddenly more pressing need, turning some of those okay players into better than okay players.

    Left tackle is settled.

    No. 3 - The under-the-radar winner over the weekend ...

    [​IMG]
    Come on down, Drew Mehringer, and accept your attaboy!

    The current Texas co-wide receivers coach hasn't had his name called a lot in the last year, but it was absolutely noteworthy that when Jordan Whittington talked about the reasons why he selected Texas, it wasn't Bryan Carrington's name that was mentioned.

    “Mainly, with me and Coach Mehringer, we don’t talk much about football - it’s mostly about life," Whittington told Rivals.com's Nick Krueger. "It’s been about getting to know each other and build that relationship so that we will trust each other during my college career.”

    In terms of recruiting skins on the wall, Mehringer's work at Texas has probably been underrated, as he was instrumental in the recruitments of Al'Vonte Woodard, Brennan Eagles and Joshua Moore, even if recognition for his efforts has been minimal, mostly because of what happened on the field with his position group last season.

    Yet, this is the fourth nationally elite prospect at the position that he coaches that he has helped land as the key point man in the recruitment in the last nine months.

    That's worth an attaboy.

    No. 4 - Speaking of Whittington ...

    I'm always a fan of landing a guy with great bloodlines and Whittington having an uncle with a Super Bowl ring and his own football cards certainly qualifies as that.

    For so many years, the name Robert Strait pops into my head if you say the words "Cuero running back" and it turns out that Arthur Whittington should have been the guy all along.

    [​IMG]

    No. 5 - Although Texas made it into the Tournament fairly easily ...

    Personally, I think the Longhorns got a really rough draw.

    Although I can't say I watched a minute of Nevada basketball this year, it seems rather ominous to hear that they were the No. 1 offensive team in the Mountain West, while also sporting a capable defense. It's a team with the assist-to-turnover ratio in the Mountain West by a considerable margin.

    The fact that San Diego State was beating the Wolfpack by 30 at halftime in its last game clearly shows that this is a team that can be had. Heck, Texas has beaten teams this season that beat Nevada, but everything about this game seems to scream that it's probably a 50-50 contest.

    Yet, game-in and game-out, Nevada has been a better team than the Longhorns this season, at least in terms of putting the basket in the hoops. Matt Coleman will need to be excellent.

    Should Texas advance, expect one hell of an ugly game to break out between it and Cincinnati in round two. In the right draw, I think Texas could be a dangerous first-weekend team, but I'm not sure I see the Longhorns playing more than two games the rest of the season.

    No. 6 – Random tournament thoughts ...

    ... I found it interesting that Oklahoma made it in with room, while Oklahoma State wasn't within a 10-foot pole of them in the eyes of the committee. I'll save my outrage for other things, but that was kind of curious to me.

    ... As good as the Big 12 is this year, I'm not sure that more than two teams will still be standing after the first weekend. I'm not sure I trust anyone.

    ... No one can say that Duke was given a breeze of a pathway to the Final Four. A Kansas/Duke regional final would be a hell of a lot of fun.

    ... Virginia is the No. 1 seed I feel the best about emerging as a Final Four team. It's time for Virginia to take a post-season step forward.

    ... On the other hand, I really like Villanova, but that's a very tricky little path it has been given in the East. A match-up against West Virginia in the Sweet 16 would be one hell of a game.

    ... Final Four teams: Virginia, Villanova, Michigan and Duke.

    No. 7 - Oh boy...

    To discuss the Texas baseball team after losing three of four games to nationally-elite Stanford this weekend, I will quote the greatest movie about fake knights jousting against all obstacles ever made - "A Knight's Tale"



    After winning the first game of the series and creating some much-needed excitement about the season, the Longhorns were outscored 27-5 over the course of the final three games.

    I mean ... that'll humble you.

    This isn't a bad baseball team by any stretch, but a 9-7 record after 16 games, 13 of which were played at home, doesn't instill any confidence that this team is on the path towards a memorable season. It is what it is.

    No. 8 – Buy or Sell …
    [​IMG]

    BUY or SELL: Calvin Anderson will be as good or better than Connor Williams at LT?

    (Sell) Easy, my man.

    BUY or SELL: The Longhorns will score a head-to-head recruiting victory against Jimbo that will leave him with the look on his face that a contestant on Forged in Fire gets when his knife breaks during the strength test?

    (Buy) For the record, I had no idea what you were talking about until I searched Youtube.


    BUY or SELL: Herb Hand makes a significant difference in creating an offensive identity?

    (Buy) I struggled with what I thought about this question, but ultimately an upgrade at offensive line should help this team gets closer to what it wants its identity to be, so I'll buy.

    BUY or SELL: Given how the Longhorn football team played throughout last year, our head coach and fans should be cautious in assuming that Texas will automatically win its season opener at Maryland?

    (Buy) We giving benefits of the doubt against home teams that Texas lost by multiple touchdowns to a year ago?

    BUY or SELL: Herman finishes with a higher-ranked 2019 recruiting class than Jimbo?

    (Buy) I expect both to have top-10 classes on the national level.

    BUY or SELL: Texas will have 10 commits by Memorial Day?

    (Sell) It'll be close, though.

    BUY or SELL: Given that 14 of the Rivals Top 100 football players (class of 2019) are from the state of Texas, we should be able to sign at least six of these "home grown" athletes?

    (BUY) Texas should always sign at least half of the top 14 kids in the state, just out of principle.

    BUY or SELL: Tiger wins another major?

    (BUY) Phil and Tiger both have another major left in them.

    BUY or SELL: You have a new found respect for Man U after yesterday's ass Whoopin ?

    (Sell) I have the same amount of respect. Manchester United is a very good team and although the optics of this game look quite different if Liverpool is awarded any of three possible penalties in the box that existed in that game, I thought they deserved the three points because I felt like even with all of the possession that Liverpool enjoyed, United probably controlled the game better. That being said, United took two shots on goal and converted both. Let's not confuse executing the game-plan very well with dominating or performing at a truly elite level.Liverpool got Jose'd this weekend. It happens.

    No. 9 – Eternal Randomness of the Spotty Sports Mind …

    ... Tiger didn't win, but he played well enough that the money is starting to come in on him for the Masters.

    ... The race for No. 1 in the West is over. Golden State might have to win a game seven on the road because the Rockets are going to cruise to the No. 1 seed.

    ... Odell Beckham Jr. really needs to start making the women he hangs with put their phones in a basket by the front door of his crib, hotel room, etc ...

    ... I have a feeling we might be headed towards a Rams/Eagles NFL Championship Game this upcoming season.

    ... I'm pretty sure that the Phillies giving Jake Arrieta a three-year deal for a boat-load of cash is going to backfire, but hey, I like the ambition to not completely wait until 2019 before trying to make a leap.

    ... The entire United Kingdom is sleeping on pins and needles at this very moment while they wait for an official determination on Harry Kane's right ankle.

    ... Atlanta United FC put 72,000+ in the stands for its MLS season-opener. That's kind of insane.

    No. 10 – And Finally …

    I just wanted to take a moment and express how excited I am that Anwar Richardson is going to be sticking around with our crazy little dysfunctional family after signing a new multi-year extension earlier in the week.

    I've never been happier with any team I've ever assembled here at Orangebloods as I am right now and it was important for me that the No. 1 football reporter in this market stick around into the next decade. Anwar is OB family and the hope is that he's with us for many more contracts to come.

    Cheers!
     
  2. Mr.Moustache512

    Mr.Moustache512 Take The Loss Pussy
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  3. CutaneousHorn

    CutaneousHorn Traveling the Bird Roads
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  4. jshorn

    jshorn Everyone's favorite poster
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    I read on Monday morning, but thought I’d check in on page 1
     
  5. BobHorn

    BobHorn baby steps
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    Lightning.
     
  6. Random Black

    Random Black Well-Known Member
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  7. Ketchum

    Ketchum Resident Blockhead
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    I blame my copy-editor. ;)
     
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  8. bbartos

    bbartos Well-Known Member
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    Saw Arthur Whittington play his jr and sr year in the high school playoffs. Between him and Alois Blackwell, I'd never seen a more dominant running game. Those guys were fantastic. If Jordan is anything like his dad, he'll be a great one! Can't wait for the season to get here
     
  9. McHorn

    McHorn Well-Known Member
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    Part one was right on the money.

    It’s why those paying attention knew Strong would never have success here.

    And it’s why those who can analyze see that it’s very likely Herman will.

    If you do all the small stuff right, you usually end up with the desired result.
     
  10. CoSLonghorn

    CoSLonghorn Well-Known Member
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    If the team comes to Nashville like they are playing with house money I think we can make some noise.

    If they come like they did in the Big XII tourney then Nevada will boat race us.
     
  11. rangers71

    rangers71 That theory cannot be proven!
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    72000 for Atlanta United. WOW
     
  12. Joe Longhorn

    Joe Longhorn Well-Known Member
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    Well deserved! Congrats Anwar.
     
  13. drunk randoke

    drunk randoke Ok cool. Hook 'em
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    Wow. I thought Ryan Nunez would kick ass way back when.
     
  14. MauiHorn

    MauiHorn Well-Known Member
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    Here is where Shaka earns his money. We should be able to beat a much smaller NV front court.
     
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  15. Ketchum

    Ketchum Resident Blockhead
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    I don't see a boat-race taking place. Nevada would be a middle of the pack Big 12 team. Texas has beaten better, but lost to worse.
     
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  16. Ketchum

    Ketchum Resident Blockhead
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    I think a certifiable left tackle that arrives as a day one starter is more important.
     
  17. drunk randoke

    drunk randoke Ok cool. Hook 'em
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    Surprised me.

    Kudos to you Ketch. @Anwar Richardson is the tits.
     
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  18. drunk randoke

    drunk randoke Ok cool. Hook 'em
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    Not disagreeing at all. Love the pickup.
     
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  19. curtis7mills

    curtis7mills Well-Known Member
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    Couldn't agree more with #10. Solid stuff right there!!!
     
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  20. Cdun

    Cdun Well well well, How the turntables...
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    Best part of the whole write-up.

    Congrats @Anwar Richardson

    Keep being our voice in that press conference room!
     
  21. McLovin327

    McLovin327 Newsletter Editor
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    Did Anwar do a hat dance?

    "I'm keeping my talents in Austin."
     
  22. BobHorn

    BobHorn baby steps
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    [​IMG]
     
  23. Bham horn

    Bham horn Well-Known Member
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    Anwar is the tits. Glad he is sticking around
     
  24. Super Banana

    Super Banana Well-Known Member
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    Congrats, Anwar! I very much like your takes on all things Longhorn, and am happy you’re sticking around this crazy place!
     
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  25. boernefan

    boernefan Well-Known Member
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    It is also the determination to keep making things better, no matter how good or bad they may look at the time.
     
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  26. TurfYoda

    TurfYoda Well-Known Member
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    @Ketchum what is your expectation with Calvin Anderson and who do you compare him to?
     
  27. Ketchum

    Ketchum Resident Blockhead
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    My expectation is that he'll be a top 3-4 left tackle in the conference this year.
     
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  28. Ketchum

    Ketchum Resident Blockhead
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    He's old school. He announced in a hot tub.
     
  29. BobHorn

    BobHorn baby steps
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    Replace "should be able to" with "will" and what's your answer?
     
  30. lonestar48

    lonestar48 Just waiting for the next danhorn post...
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    I got the feeling that some of our position coaches suffered paralysis by analysis at times and were susceptible to many poor decisions regarding personnel, substituting, etc.

    Getting those "behind the scenes " details straight is Herman's last remaining box to check in my opinion.
     
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  31. cujo0622

    cujo0622 Well-Known Member
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    the crowd for the atlanta mls game was insane.

    If the mls can get off its high horse it can be truely successful in the US.
     
  32. BobHorn

    BobHorn baby steps
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    [​IMG]
     
  33. CoSLonghorn

    CoSLonghorn Well-Known Member
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    I won’t believe it until he posts a commitment video.
     
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  34. Ketchum

    Ketchum Resident Blockhead
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    I'll still buy.
     
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  35. texcassidy

    texcassidy Well-Known Member
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    Whoa. So Arthur Whittington of SMU fame and Alois Blackwell of UH fame were on the same high school team at Cuero? They must have crushed.
     
  36. PaperChampion

    PaperChampion Well-Known Member
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    Questionable game management decisions, such as going for it on fourth down against Maryland and not going for two in overtime against USC, among others, are a concern I didn't think I'd have when I heard Herman was hired. Hopefully, they won't continue this year.
     
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  37. bkennedy404

    bkennedy404 Well-Known Member
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    Thanks, great write-up as to a very tangled head coach, no offense, but I skipped your analysis of upcoming Nevada basketball game. . . It’s not possible to predict our bb team’s next game.
     
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  38. RLong68

    RLong68 Well-Known Member
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    If Texas/Nevada is anything but a last 4 minutes contest then I'll be rather stunned.
     
  39. LonghornBuc

    LonghornBuc Well-Known Member
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    I am having a positive Sunday, so no talking Shaka. :)

    First positive....great work to keep Anwar here. Its so nice to read stories written like a guy who worked for years honing his craft at an old school newspaper

    Second positive......great call on Coach Mehringer. He usually gets trashed here for the work of last years receivers. But his recruiting work is clearly elite. I blame the negativity on his name, really Meh...ringer? Born to be meh. :)
     
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  40. RLong68

    RLong68 Well-Known Member
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    Unfortunately in front of the scenes we tended to see an appalling lack of details. I mean, sometimes it felt Strong-like. I'll chalk it up to the transition to big boy football but there's a reason why that higher up laughed at your question.
     
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