Here is the entire transcript of Tom Herman’s introductory press conference into fall camp for the 2018 season, courtesy of Texas media relations.
THE MODERATOR: Coach will open it up with a few comments, then we’ll take questions.
TOM HERMAN: Appreciate you guys being here.
First thing I do want to start off with, I haven’t seen you since the passing of Frank Denius. What an unbelievable man, a guy that I only knew in passing really for about a year and a half. What he meant to this university, what he meant to this football program.
I went along with Chris Del Conte and Greg Fenves, a week before he passed, went to his house and spent about an hour with him. He was not in great shape, but he had his T ring on. He could still give him hook ‘em horns. We remembered how our kickoff team was named after him, the things he had done in the military and accomplished.
I found out some unbelievable things about him. He was married for 64 years. Maybe the best story about him, I’ll move on, but the best story about Frank that I heard was in 57 years, he had missed three home Texas football games, 57 years. One of those was to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor, which at first he declined to go. He said, I’m not missing a game for some silly honor. His family, Frank, this is the Congressional Medal of Honor, I think you need to go accept it.
What an unbelievable man, father, husband, and very important to us. What an unbelievable Longhorn.
I’m excited to see our football team play football. We haven’t done that since the spring game. We’ve had an amazing summer. Our guys are in unbelievable shape. We’ll have some of those numbers later on today. We’ll celebrate the champions of the third quarter of the year.
As you guys probably know, we split the year up into quarters in terms of the first quarter being winter conditioning, second quarter being spring practice, third quarter being summer conditioning, then the fourth quarter being the season.
Our guys had a tremendous third quarter and we’ll be celebrating a lot of champions tonight as we get ready.
I feel like it’s Christmas in August. We get an opportunity to see in some of these new freshmen some bright, shiny new toys, and we get an opportunity in some of these veterans to see some revamped, remodeled, refurbished toys with Yancy and his crew. Yancy and his crew are as good as there is in the country. I say that without hyperbole and exaggeration. The things our guys are able to do compared with what they were able to do just a year ago is incredible, incredible.
We believe in him. We believe in what he does. Tonight is a very special night transitioning into the fourth quarter to see and continue to build on our mantras of this entire off-season of developing and finishing.
I think we’ve developed as athletes throughout the course of the summer. Now in training camp it’s about developing as football players, developing relationships, developing as a team, then learning how to finish.
Again, I’ve said it ad nauseam, I’ll say it again: I’ve never been more excited to coach a team in my career.
Q. On the situation at Ohio State
TOM HERMAN: As you guys should know, I left the program after the 2015 season, excuse me, the 2014 season. The things that occurred to my knowledge happened in late 2015. I really don’t think it would be fair or appropriate, to be honest with you, for me to comment about a situation in another program that happened while I wasn’t there.
Q. On Title IX at the University of Texas
TOM HERMAN: We understand the importance of it. We understand the power of the roles that we have. The great thing about working at a place like the University of Texas is that we are trained extensively in what to do in situations like that.
Through that training, we understand in a supervisory role we have a duty to report. If something comes across my desk or an assistant coach’s desk, he is very specifically trained as to what to do and how to do it, which is to report it to a supervisor and start it working up the chain of command.
Q. Did you or your family, your wife, learn of any allegations while you were there? If so, when did you know it?
TOM HERMAN: Again, it’s always been my policy to not comment on another program. We’re at Texas. Been at Texas for a year and a half. As sensitive of a subject as this is, to comment in a forum like this I feel would be very inappropriate.
Q. Have you asked your assistant coaches about what they may have known prior to 2015?
TOM HERMAN: That’s at another program that I’m not going to comment on.
Q. Give us your assessment of what you’re expecting from the offense this year, what your vision is from a leadership standpoint.
TOM HERMAN: There’s a ton of chemistry, especially in the coaching staff room, to be honest with you. We get along great. I think there’s very defined roles, who is responsible for what.
I expect to see us run the ball better for a variety of reasons, whether that be us as coaches coaching it better, focusing on schemes that maybe fit our talent level, the development of our offensive line and our tailbacks, the health of our tight ends, and the fact that we have tight ends now, and hopefully the development of the pass game.
I think it’s a tremendous complement. If you want to run the ball, you better be able to throw it to keep defenses honest. That’s the biggest expectation. We ran the ball so much better in spring practice. I expect that to continue.
Q. Are you more efficient as coaches at this point?
TOM HERMAN: Yeah, I mean, we’re coaching a lot more football instead of practice habits, effort, intensity and physicality. Those things can be coached. They needed to be when we got here. It’s a process.
There’s guys that were not very physical, they were not very tough when we got here, that now are. Now you can move on. It’s the old crawl before you walk, walk before you run. You got to lay a foundation of practice habits, of toughness, of accountability, of a genuine belief in what we’re doing. You got to win their hearts and win their minds before you can really teach them any football.
I just think the biggest thing is we’re coaching football. We’re coaching individual drills. We’re coaching schemes. We’re coaching techniques and fundamentals, where that was almost a secondary thought, as to ball security and effort, physicality, not turning down hits or shying away from things.
Nowadays that’s ingrained. We very rarely coach that. It’s still demanded. We tell our guys all the time, There’s two demands in this program, not things you’ll get coached on but demands: that’s effort and ball security.
We were actually teaching and coaching the things we should be demanding. Every now and again somebody slips up, and we demand it to get better the next time, whereas all the other things, we’ll coach you on your hand placement, the depth of your route, all that stuff. The demands are being met at a much higher clip now than they ever have been.
Q. On Tre Watson
TOM HERMAN: History at Cal was a very good pass catcher out of the backfield. Low center of gravity guy, got good leverage blocking. I think he had surgery on that ACL in October. There’s still a little deficiency in the strengths of each leg. He’s going to be limited and progress.
We’re accelerating that. He should be full speed. He’s going to go through all non-contact drills these next two days. When we put the pads on, practice three on Sunday, he’ll be limited. Obviously day four is Monday, an off day. Practice four on Tuesday. He’ll crank up a little bit but still not be full. Then hopefully by practice I think five or six he should be ready to go.
Q. From the outside looking in, people would say Tim Beck, this is a major year for him. Give me your take on that whole situation, your thoughts on him having something to prove this year?
TOM HERMAN: Again, we’re all responsible for the offense. As an offensive coordinator, you’re a manager of the room, the staff room, you’re a scripter of practice, you’re a designer of practice, if you will. This is what we need to do this period, this is what we need to do there.
The game planning really is a group effort. Then even on game day, there’s a lot of ideas that are being thrown around, a lot of adjustments that are being thrown around, a lot of different ways of going about it on game day.
If your game plan is set, and set well, and your kids are able to retain that game plan, and the defense is giving you what you had game planned for, then there’s not a whole lot to do with call this, call that, call this, call that. You kind of figure all that stuff out on Monday through Friday.
Q. Does it matter if he’s viewed as the play-caller or if you are?
TOM HERMAN: I don’t think so.
Q. (Question about expectations for Calvin Anderson and Herb Hand.)
TOM HERMAN: We brought Calvin in because we needed to. We think he’s certainly talented enough to come in and compete for a starting position.
The addition of Herb Hand has been great. It’s been fantastic.
Q. On replacing key players from last year’s defense
TOM HERMAN: Davante would start at corner. We have to get those young guys some reps. As good as Deshaun and Holton and Malik we’re, they deserve every accolade they earned. The guy who was probably most disruptive was Poona Ford. We have to make sure we’re getting at least close to his production from the nose guard position.
On the philosophy at training camp
TOM HERMAN: Again, our philosophy has always been, and it won’t change, the first two and a half weeks of training camp is about us. We’re not going to change that. We’ve got to develop this team. We have to evaluate a lot of players, a lot of young players.
We’ll worry about Maryland and some installation of game plan the next two weeks as we lead into the game. But I don’t think we’ll use it as motivation to get through any hard times. The motivation is the guy to your right and the guy to your left.
Q. (No microphone.)
TOM HERMAN: Oh, I would say physically Marqez Bimage, vertical jump today, something really, really good. Samuel Cosmi is another young guy that’s had an unbelievable off-season. Leadership-wise Andrew Beck continues to be exactly what you want there.
We’ve got a lot of good leaders on this team. Our leadership council has about, I don’t know, 12 to 14 guys on it that I’m really proud of the way that they’ve continued to lead this team in the off-season.
Q. On the expectations for camp and staying healthy
TOM HERMAN: The expectation is to stay healthy. That’s goal number one. To go back to the first point, I think Cade Brewer will be limited in terms of contact for the first couple days. He hasn’t been hit since October. That’s more not a structural thing, that’s a confidence thing, just being able to take hits. We feel like he’s going to progress very rapidly.
But back to Kirk. He’s going to have to compete. In order to compete, you got to stay healthy.
Q. On the structure of camp
TOM HERMAN: Correct. Our first three practices, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, will be at Denius practice fields. We’ll take Monday off. We’ll take Monday off the entire camp. Then the next two weeks, wheel be at Whitaker, then we’ll come back to Denius, kind of break camp, if you will, because we’re getting ready for Maryland, then we’ll spend the next two weeks leading up to Maryland back at Denius.
Q. On Coach McKnight
TOM HERMAN: I think he’s going to be here right now to talk to you guys. You’ll get a chance to grill him a little bit.
He’s as good as I’ve been around at blending toughness with relate-ability. Everything matters. Nothing slips by. Nothing is, Hey, you know, if you’re supposed to go plus two, the guy goes plus-one and a half: Oh, well, that was close enough. No, there’s ‘no close enough’.
He’s in perfect alignment in what I believe and our program believes wins football games and win championships. He’s just a guy that can be so hard on our players, but they also know that the reason he is is because he loves them and he has their best interest in mind.
Q. Who takes the first snap in practice tomorrow? Past that, how do you divy up the rest for those guys over the next few weeks?
TOM HERMAN: The guy that will take the first snap will be Sam. He’s earned that because obviously just going all the way back to the winter where Shane was hurt, rehabbing. Spring was pretty neck-and-neck. They both had great summers. Then the next time the ones go out, Shane will take that first rep with the ones. That rotation will be there.
Cameron Rising will get a couple reps with the ones here and there. Then Cameron and Casey will split the rest of the reps with the twos.
Q. When will you announce?
TOM HERMAN: When would we like to announce? I think when it becomes obvious. I think the sooner the better, for sure. But as I’ve said before, coaches really don’t make that decision. The players themselves make that decision when they separate themselves, when the team starts to gravitate, when the ball moves more when you’re in there versus when the other guy is in there.
Then, Do we have the pieces to win the Big 12? I think if everything goes right, if we stay healthy, I think if we develop both as football players and in our relationship, if we continue to finish and learn how to finish, then we should have a very good chance to achieve our goal, which is to be in contention for the Big 12 championship in the month of November.
Q. Last year fall camp was described as pretty intense. Any changes to this year’s fall camp? What are going to be the main changes?
TOM HERMAN: None. None. We’re going to be very intense, very physical.
Q. On Coach Orlando
TOM HERMAN: Well, he’s real. He’s not going to sugarcoat anything. When you do something poorly, he’s going to let you know. But he’s constructive. He does a great job of attacking and criticizing the action, not the person, right?
Our entire staff, that’s one of the things that we all have to do. You attack the action, you criticize the action, you don’t attack the person. He does a phenomenal job of that.
He has a way of teaching that really kind of breaks things down in very small parts that are very digestible. But he’s fun, too. I think the kids respect his toughness. It’s not fake. It’s real.
There’s a bunch that are honorable mention, but the two guys I’d pick first in my foxhole would be Todd Orlando and Yancy McKnight.
Q. (No microphone.)
TOM HERMAN: I don’t think you ever really know. I think this year more than any, because we have such talented young players that are going to have to figure in somewhere, but I also think the fact that we do have them will create a lot of competition with some of these older guys, and they’ll either sink or swim. They’re either going to get better and rise to the occasion or they’re going to get passed up.
I don’t think you really know exactly what you have till probably the first couple weeks of camp.
Q. Talk about what you’ve seen from Junior Angilau, Keondre Coburn.
TOM HERMAN: I’ve seen them running around cones and go through bags, so... They looked good doing it.
Q. On Andrew Beck
TOM HERMAN: There was really just one. It was on the field. You like that. Some of the best leaders I’ve ever been around have been passionate and competitive and proud.
There was a moment when I was challenging and criticizing something that he did that I didn’t think was up to our standard. He felt differently. Instead of addressing it properly, said some things that he probably shouldn’t have said. Then it became two alphas going at each other.
It was good. It was healthy. He apologized.
Q. How did it evolve from there?
TOM HERMAN: Peas and carrots, to quote Forest Gump.
Yeah, that one with Andrew, it was over within hours. He walked up to my office, Coach, I apologize. I understand I’m a leader on the team. I should never address you like that in front of the team, it will never happen again. And it hasn’t.
Q. On the offensive line
TOM HERMAN: They’ve improved. They’ve improved for a variety of reasons. We’re getting healthier. We finished with eight scholarship offensive linemen, and now you add the four freshmen, Calvin Anderson, Patrick Hudson in the mix, we feel like we’ve got a better room.
But I think, again, offensive linemen are not supposed to play as true freshmen. It’s a position of seasoning. It’s a position of experience. It’s a position of camaraderie where ideally you’d like the same couple guys playing next to each other for multiple years.
We haven’t had that luxury in a while around here, going back to the year I think Zach Shackelford had to start and play a bunch as a true freshman, then Derek Kerstetter playing as a true freshman.
If we stay healthy, it will be nice to have some continuity and experience up front.
Right now it would be Elijah Rodriguez with Kerstetter and Cosmi at right tackle. It could go the other way. It could be Okafor at right tackle and Cosmi and Anderson at left tackle.
Q. On the most versatile offensive lineman
TOM HERMAN: Elijah Rodriguez could play all five positions.
Q. It’s been a while since there’s been any big change in coaching staff. Some of the roles changed a little bit within the staff. How important is it for you guys, the players, the program to have continuity?
TOM HERMAN: I think it’s very understated, I really do. I believe I counted this is the first time in five years that the offense will be on the same offense for the second year in a row. Think about that.
So to be able to have that comfort-ability in the offensive system, to have the comfort-ability in your position coach, to have the comfort-ability in everything that we do in our program, I think it’s one of the main reasons why our guys have progressed at the rate that they have this off-season. It’s because we haven’t changed.