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Saturday, December 9, 2023


A look at the incoming coaching staff for Houston

tom herman

Tom Herman inherits a big job with expectations of an immediate impact, but will his assistant coaches help him find the road to success? | File photo/The Cougar

As we move forward toward the beginning of the Tom Herman era at UH, let’s take a look at the man leading the Houston takeover.

Some of the top players in Texas have already committed to Houston, so the talent is there; we just have to see what the new coaching staff can do with that talent.

With both the offense and defense returning a number of impact players, here’s what makes this coaching staff an exciting prospect for Cougar fans.

Head coach Tom Herman: Before making his way to Houston, Herman was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Ohio State University Buckeyes.

In his time there, he helped lead the team to a national championship, but one of his most impressive accomplishments is what he did with the quarterbacks in 2014.

Herman was able to adjust the offense to compensate for the loss of not only the starting quarterback, but back-up as well, while still losing just one game and capturing the national title in the first ever College Football Playoff behind a third-string quarterback.

Herman was honored for his work at Ohio State with the Broyles Award, given to the nation’s top assistant coach.

Herman’s offensive-minded approach at Houston should prove exciting early on for the Cougars, as Houston returns last year’s starting quarterback, Greg Ward Jr., as well as UH’s 1,000-yard rusher, Kenneth Farrow.

Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Major Applewhite: In his 12 years as a coach, Applewhite has coached in nine bowl games, three of which have been BCS games.

Before coming to Houston, Applewhite coached at Texas from 2008 to 2013.

Applewhite spent three years as the assistant head coach under Mack Brown, before transitioning to co-offensive coordinator in the 2011.

The Longhorns suffered the loss of their starting quarterback in the 2013 season, but the offense was able to post good numbers behind the back-up quarterback and earned fourth place in-conference.

In each of his last three jobs as offensive coordinator, Applewhite has effectively run different kinds of offenses, and should mix well with the tempo of offense Herman likes to run.

Applewhite himself has plenty of experience, as he was a four-year starter for UT, setting and breaking numerous records in his time in Austin, giving him a good framework to work with Ward and the rest of the Cougar quarterbacks.

Defensive coordinator/ linebackers coach Todd Orlando: Orlando has been coaching since the time he left college, with 19 years of experience.

Most recently, Orlando spent two seasons at Utah State University, where he led one of the most ferocious defenses in the Mountain West, as well as the country.

This past season alone, he led a top-20 defense nationally, which also ranked second in tackles for loss.

Additionally, the Aggies were apt at forcing turnovers in Orlando’s tenure, compiling the eighth-highest two-year total of forced turnovers, which should fit well with the Cougars play-making defense, which forced 34 turnovers last year.

The Cougars can be expected to keep up the tenacity on defense under Orlando, as Utah State was fourth in the nation in sacks last season, and he should improve a passing defense which allowed just over 200 yards-per-game last season.

In can be expected that Houston’s defense will look very similar to last year’s, with the return of a number of senior starters, but anticipate improvement all over the defense.

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