Tom Herman

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Who will be the next first-time college football national championship coach?

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On Monday night, Virginia and Texas Tech will battle for the men’s basketball national championship. A victory will clinch the first national championship as a head coach for either Virginia head coach Tony Bennett or Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard. But if you want college basketball coverage, our friends over at College Basketball Talk have you taken care of. Here, we’ll take the football angle and try to determine what college football coach will be the next to win his first national championship.

First, a refresher of the recent history of championship head coaches. Unless you’ve been sleeping under Howard’s Rock, you know the last four national titles have been split evenly by Nick Saban of Alabama and Dabo Swinney of Clemson. Swinney is the most recent coach to win his first national championship, having done so three seasons ago with a victory over Saban’s Crimson Tide in the 2016 season. Before Swinney, the most recent coach to win his first national title was Jimbo Fisher, then at Florida State, in the 2013 season in the final BCS Championship Game before the College Football Playoff took over. Since the 2010 season, the only other coach to win his first national title was Gene Chizik at Auburn, doing so in the 2010 season with Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton topping the Oregon Ducks in the BCS Championship Game.

There are certainly some obvious candidates to be the next coach to win his first national title. The conversation likely has to begin with Lincoln Riley of Oklahoma. In his first two seasons as head coach of the Sooners, Riley has taken two Big 12 championship teams into the College Football Playoff with a Heisman Trophy quarterback, although the Sooners have yet to win a playoff game. Each time, Oklahoma was eliminated by the national title runner-up. It doesn’t look as though Oklahoma is going to be slowing down any time soon, although the competition just in the conference may improve and make a playoff run a tad more difficult. Tom Herman at Texas could be the most likely coach out of the Big 12 not named Riley to win his first national title.

There are still some coaches to watch in the SEC as well. Kirby Smart has already taken Georgia to the national title game, where they lost in overtime against Alabama two seasons ago. He will certainly be in the mix to win his first national title. He’s even taken out Riley and Oklahoma! Dan Mullen at Florida could be a coach in the running as well, although there may still be some work to do in Gainesville before Florida can crack the four-team playoff field. Or will the football gods align the fates just right for Ed Orgeron to take LSU the distance?

The ACC is tough to find a coach you can feel has a great shot to be the next coach to win his first national title, especially with Clemson continuing to roll for the foreseeable future. The Pac-12 looks like a difficult spot too considering the quality of play in the conference recently. The thought of Mike Leach being the next to win his first national title is fun to dream about though.

But what about the Big Ten? Ryan Day is taking over as head coach of a playoff-worthy candidate at Ohio State this season. Jim Harbaugh should have another strong Big Ten contender to work with this upcoming season. James Franklin and Penn State have a couple hurdles they need to prove they can clear again before making their case, but all three coaches would certainly be on the radar.

Or, if you dare to do so, do you think there is a Group of Five coach out there ready to make the jump to a power conference program and guide them to a national title in the next few years while Saban and Swinney go another couple of championship rounds? Call your shot in the comment section or on Twitter.

Championship Buckeye QBs attend Texas spring practice

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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.

Texas assistant coaches get one-year contracts but no raises

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Following up one of the more successful seasons in recent memory by the Texas Longhorns, it was previously reported Texas would be reverting to one-year contracts for assistant coaches after previously handing out multi-year deals. What was unknown at the time was those one-year deals would not see an increase in pay for those assistants coming back to Austin for another year with the Longhorns.

According to  a report from Horns247, running back coach Stan Drayton, defensive line coach Oscar Giles, wide receivers coach Corby Meekins, passing game coordinator Drew Mehringer, co-defensive coordinator Craig Naviar, tight ends coach Derek Warehime and cornerbacks coach Jason Washington have all agreed to return on a one-year contract with no increased financial commitment from the university. Based off last year’s database of coaching salaries compiled by USA Today, Texas had the ninth highest assistant coaching salary pool with $5.95 million to split between the assistant coaching staff under head coach Tom Herman. Texas also had the highest salary pool for assistant coaches among Big 12 programs, with the next closest being Oklahoma at $5.13 million.

For a university with as many resources and funds available as Texas, this seems to be somewhat odd to not offer any sort of financial incentive on a new contract for a successful assistant coaching staff. Texas would certainly have the funds available to provide to their coaching staff, as the numbers show they are not shy about spending. Then again, the assistants coming back are the ones accepting the terms of the contracts, and it is fair to note the exact specifics in the contracts has not been disclosed. The possibility of some additional incentives built in for various achievements during the season is always a possibility.

The decision to go to one-year contracts for assistant coaches was one seemingly designed to motivate the coaches to continue doing their best to improve the program. And if Texas turns in another season with double-digits in the win column and at least another appearance in the Big 12 championship game and, perhaps, a New Years Six bowl game, then the odds should be pretty good any assistant coach coming back to Texas in 2020 will be doing so with a little more financial security in the bank on their next contract. This is especially true when head coach Tom Herman and the athletic director, Chris Del Conte, are scheduled to be getting healthy raises on an annual basis for the remainder of their respective contracts.

For now, there are no signs of any rumblings from unhappy coaches in Austin, and there may be absolutely no reason to believe that will become an issue. That doesn’t make it any less bizarre for Texas or any school not to add a few extra bucks to a new contract for a returning staff member. Of course, a Ludacris concert doesn’t pay for itself.

Texas books Ludacris for post-spring game concert

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Keeping up with the latest fad among college football elites, the Texas Longhorns are putting on a postgame conference to cap this year’s spring game. Texas announced on Thursday that Longhorn fans will be treated to a postgame concert starring hip-hop icon Ludacris as the headlining act.

“I’m really excited about all of the activities that [Texas AD] Chris Del Conte, [Texas Executive Senior Associate AD for External Affairs ]Drew Martin and our athletics department staff have planned around our spring game,” Texas head coach Tom Herman said in a released statement. “It is going to be a fun day in Austin and what a thrill it will be to see a legendary, award-winning singer like Ludacris performing live. I’ve always been a huge fan and love his music, but more importantly, know players, students, recruits, fans and so many others will enjoy the show because he and his music transcend so many generations. We’re thrilled that he’s coming to Austin and making our day an extra special one.”

In addition to Ludacris, the concert will also feature local hip-hop artist Noah North, a native of Austin, Texas.

For years, Texas rarely made a big deal out of its annual spring game, if spring game attendance is to be used as a metric for the interest in spring games. The Longhorns, despite being one of the bluebloods of the college football world, were never a program to attract a massive crowd for the spring game. Is this a sign the Longhorns are continuing to improve the spring game experience for fans, and make this more of a money-maker for Texas? Well, the concert is free, but there is always money to be made at the concession stands and outside the stadium.

This event may not move Texas to the number one spot in the Big 12 spring game attendance standings, for those who pay attention to such details, but it will certainly help make the spring game more attractive in Austin.

Ex-Kansas coach David Beaty to help Texas prepare for Oklahoma

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Just days after coaching his final game at Kansas against Texas, David Beaty is now a Longhorn. To a certain degree, at least.

Beaty will assist Texas head coach Tom Herman as a consultant as the Longhorns prepare to take on Oklahoma this week in the Big 12 championship game. After reports of this role popped up on Sunday, Herman officially announced the addition of Beaty as a consultant on Monday morning.

Even though Herman and Texas beat Oklahoma earlier this season, adding Beaty as a consultant make sense given how Kansas rolled up 40 points on the Sooners just two weeks ago. Kansas hung 23 points on Oklahoma in the fourth quarter alone, although Oklahoma scored a 55-40 win over the Jayhawks anyway. But having an extra coach to offer that kind of experience and knowledge of coaching against Oklahoma certainly doesn’t hurt Texas this week.

Beaty was fired as Kansas head coach a couple of weeks ago but he coached through the end of the regular season. Kansas has since hired Les Miles to be his replacement.