Texas head coach Tom Herman was instrumental in the development of former Ohio State quarterbacks J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones so much that it helped catapult him into a head coach position at Houston, followed by his current position with the Longhorns. So it was only natural that Herman would invite two of his former quarterback that helped establish him as a quarterback whisperer to Austin to check out spring practice with the Longhorns.
Obviously, this is a major moment for Texas to capitalize on as two former Ohio State quarterbacks with a national championship ring are speaking out in support of Herman, who is coming off a season that saw Texas play for the Big 12 championship and end with a victory over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. The iron is hot, as they say, for Texas and the chance to get two players from another program, and another conference, boost up the head coach of the program is a solid marketing tool that will surely be used in the recruiting process.
It’s worth noting too that both Jones and Barrett played under Tim Beck at Ohio State. Beck was an offensive coordinator at Ohio State from 2015 to 2016, when he succeeded Herman in the role after Herman left the Buckeyes to become the head coach at Houston after Ohio State’s run to the inaugural College Football Playoff national championship. Barrett had been the starting quarterback for the Buckeyes after Braxton Miller was injured in the preseason. When Barrett suffered a season-ending injury in the regular season finale against Michigan, Jones stepped in to lead the offense to a Big Ten championship game rout of Wisconsin and then to victories over Alabama and Oregon in the playoff. Herman was key in keeping the offense clicking in spite of the quarterback injury concerns that fell on Ohio State in what could have easily been a lost season in Columbus.
Barrett is currently in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints. Jones is currently a member of the Los Angeles Chargers.
Considering the overall value of the Texas football program, it may come as a bit of a shock the Longhorns have never paid an assistant coach $1 million prior to now. That is no longer the case in Austin after Texas regents put their stamp of approval on contract terms for defensive coordinator Todd Orlando. Orlando will join the ranks of handsomely-paid assistant coaches with over $1 million attached to his contract.
According to the Austin American-Statesman, Orlando’s contract will net him $1.09 million annually through the end of March 2020. That puts Orlando just ahead of Alabama’s Jeremy Pruitt according to the database of coaching salaries organized by USA Today, going off the 2016 numbers. Orlando joins a growing list of assistant coaches being paid at least a million dollars in 2017. Michigan will be paying three assistants $1 million or more this upcoming season.
Texas has plenty of resources at its disposal, and it is clear the university is committed to supporting head coach Tom Herman and his staff financially. Orlando’s predecessor in Austin, Vance Bedford, was paid $800,625 in total pay in 2016. Bedford was certainly experienced prior to joining Charlie Strong at Texas, with assistant coaching experience dating back to 1987 at the college level. That’s a few more years than Orlando has under his belt, but Orlando and Herman have been together since Herman brought him to Houston in 2015.
“I mean, I’ve seen Todd Orlando make chicken salad out of some lesser parts, so I have a lot of confidence in that staff and what they’re able to do with whatever talent that we’ve inherited,” Herman said recently, per the Austin American-Statesman.
Texas making a move to pay an assistant coach this richly speaks volumes. When an assistant coach receives a $1 million (or more) contract, the message resonates that the program is invested in providing stability and competing with the best of the best. Remember, this is also the same school that just splurged on TVs above players’ lockers. Now, Texas is showing they are willing to spend money on the assistant coaches as well like never before.
In addition to Orlando’s sizable contract being approved by Texas regents, seven other contracts for assistants were approved. Among them was a three-year contract for offensive coordinator Tim Beck, who will be paid $790,000 per year.
When Ohio State opens spring practices later this semester the biggest question the national championship Buckeyes will be faced with will be what happens at the quarterback position. Unlike the quarterback questions any number of other programs will be forced to attempt to answer, Ohio State appears to have nothing but right answers to choose from. For new quarterback coach Tim Beck, it happens to be a most fortunate position to step into.
Beck has one two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and two-time Chicago Tribune Silver Football Award winner coming off shoulder rehab with Braxton Miller, supposing Miller does in fact stay in Columbus for his final season of eligibility. Beck has 2014’s top rising star in the Big Ten and beyond with J.T. Barrett, who led Ohio State’s charge to a Big Ten title and more before suffering a season-ending ankle injury in the final game of the regular season against Michigan. Finally, Beck has Cardale Jones, the third-string quarterback who proved more than capable of handling the offense as he helped lead the Buckeyes to a rout of Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game and showed some poise under center in defeating SEC champion Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and Pac-12 champion Oregon in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game.
So, who gets the call under center in 2015? Nobody knows for sure, but Beck is enthusiastic about the competitive nature the three will bring to the practice field.
“They compete hard because they want to win, and they want to play. But they also help each other,” Beck said recently, as quoted by The Columbus Dispatch. “So I think it will be interesting. I’m excited to get a chance to get to know the guys and look forward to seeing really what develops. But I don’t know. It’s kind of a good problem to probably have right now, isn’t it?”
Yes, it sure is.
The unknown variable in the equation continues to be the number of options Beck will have to choose from closer to the start of the regular season. Although every public indication is all three options will be in Columbus when the season begins, there is still some skepticism in the air. Miller will be available to transfer to any FBS program without having to sit out a season with a degree in hand. Barrett is the most likely option to stay put no matter what happens, but if Miller and Barrett stay in Columbus than the thought that Jones might pursue a transfer will continue to linger.
“It’s going to be an interesting battle,” Beck added. “I think competition is a good thing. They’re going to have to work hard and really be focused. I think eventually the cream will rise to the top and the right guy out there will be the guy.”
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said the talk about Jones leaving early for the NFL was a media creation (and it absolutely was), and he also continues to look forward to having all three quarterbacks back in the fall. Why wouldn’t he?
The defending national champion Ohio State Buckeyes made a few staff changes official Wednesday. Ed Warinner was officially named the new offensive coordinator on the staff and Tim Beck has been added to the staff as a co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Warinner will have top command of the Buckeyes offense, which will return running back Ezekiel Elliott and as many as three solid quarterback options to play with between J.T. Barrett, Cardale Jones and Braxton Miller.
“Ed Warinner is certainly deserving, experienced and well-qualified for the offensive coordinator position,” Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said in a statement released by Ohio State. “I’m pleased to be able to promote from within our program and I believe he is going to be an excellent coordinator for us.”
Warinner is the sixth different offensive coordinator to work for Meyer, with all five moving on to become head coaches elsewhere. The most recent to follow that path is Tom Herman, who is now the head coach at Houston. Promoting Warinner helps keep some consistency in Meyer’s system, and will not hurt the recruiting tactics for the Buckeyes.
News about Beck’s addition surfaced prior to the College Football Playoff national championship game and was expected to be made official soon after the game. Beck is a former coordinator at Nebraska that was left looking for a new job following Nebraska’s decision to move on from Bo Pelini as head coach. It is Meyer’s hope that Nebraska’s loss will turn out to be Ohio State’s gain.
“I have known Tim for several years and have also watched and competed against him,” Meyer said. “I have always respected his knowledge of the game and he is respected in the profession. I always look for coordinators and co-coordinators who will mesh with our staff, our style and can make us better. I believe Tim will do just that.”
The soon-to-be-vacant spot on Ohio State’s coaching staff may already have a replacement. According to Joe Schad of ESPN.com, via Twitter, the Buckeyes will add former Nebraska offensive coordinator Tim Beck to the coaching staff to fill a void being left by quarterback coach Tom Herman, who was previously hired to be Houston’s new head coach this offseason. A formal announcement is expected to be made after Monday night’s College Football Playoff National Championship Game between Ohio State and Oregon.
The exact title Beck is expected to take on is unknown. Ohio State currently has split the offensive coordinator duties between Herman and Ed Warinner. Warinner could be given the sole title of offensive coordinator as a result of the offseason staff changes, which would allow Beck to replace the duties previously held by Herman as a quarterback coach.
Beck is a native of Ohio but his coaching career has been established outside the Buckeye state. He has been an assistant coach at Illinois State, Kansas State, Missouri State, Kansas and Nebraska, along with various stints as a high school coach in Florida and Texas. From 2008 through 2010 Beck served as Nebraska’s running backs coach, before switching to offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 2011 through 2014 under former Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini.