#5- "I don't know how good we're gonna be, I really don't."
Houston chosen second in preseason poll in the AAC West.
While there is a very real reason to think the Cougars CAN win the AAC in 2015, we need to make sure that we remember a couple of things. First, we need to remember that Tom Herman is a first year head coach. He has a great staff around him and has always been successful as a coach, but he is a first year coach in a new conference.
Also, while there is a ton of talent on this team, a lot of that talent hasn't been fully realized quite yet. So while fans have all of the reasons in the world to be excited for the 2015 season, remember that we are dealing with a young team. Herman continued this by saying that there are three things that this team will do, even if it doesn't necessarily lead to wins on the field, if the players display these characteristics, they will win a lot of games.
1) be the most physically and mentally tough football team that we can be. I think no matter your talent level or your lot in life, if you're physically and mentally tough, you've got a chance to win.
2) We're gonna be accountable. We're going to play for the successes and the happiness of the guy next to us. Not for our own good. We want to see the joy on the face of the guy next to us, kissing that trophy and putting a ring on his finger, more than we do ours.
3) We're gonna compete in everything that we do in the classroom, off the field in the community of Houston. We want to be the best at everything that we do, and we're gonna strive to do that.
#4- "The energy in our program, our university...is at an all time high"
The entire quote is, "I think the energy in our program, our university, and really, to be quite honest with you, our city is at an all-time high. It's a really exciting time to be a part of the Houston sports community." Take one look at Houston's official #HTownTakeover and you will see exactly what he means. The community is very excited about having a new coach, along with the momentum that carries over from a last-second bowl win over Pittsburgh at the Armed Forces Bowl, and having a true dual-threat QB in Greg Ward Jr., and they absolutely should be.
#3: " Your college football experience is not going to be defined by whether you have a waterfall in your locker room or you got 10 flat-screen tv's in your weight room. It's just isn't. It's going to be defined by the men that mentor you and shape your lives."
The recruiting that the coaching staff has done in the first six months on the job in Downtown Houston is highlighted in the commitments from 5-star DT Ed Oliver, and 4-star DT Jordan Elliot. Houston currently has one 5-star, one 4-star, and 12 3-star verbals in the 2016 recruiting class. That is currently number 1 in the American Athletic Conference
NOTE: If the Ed Oliver commitment sticks, and he stays in Houston all four years, he'd be the first 5-star to do so. Others have transferred.
#2 "We've got great kids...We've had a tremendous amount of buy-in, they've embraced the culture that we are preaching to them."
The lifeblood of the program is the players. It doesn't matter who is calling the plays if no one is there to run them. Houston has some very exciting players coming back highlighted by Kenneth Farrow. Farrow is on the watch list for the Maxwell Award for the best football player in the United States. He rushed for 1,037 yards in 2014 for the Coogs as he carried a majority of the running load for the team. Houston also welcomes back their quarterback, Greg Ward Jr. who had a pass efficiency of 141.2 last season along with over 500 yards rushing.
#1 "I hired eight of my nine guys from the state of Texas, and the ninth, I joke, wishes he was from Texas."
The staff has 127 years recruiting the state of Texas between the assistants and Herman. Also on their collective resumes, 44 postseason victories, 30+ conference championships, and 2 national championships. Not many G5 programs can tout that among their coaching staff, but the Cougars definitely can. While it is true that kids do want to go to a school with tradition, kids want to win.
This staff can tout that they HAVE won at the highest levels and they can help him do the same. It's also not a bad place to start to have the Quarterback Whisperer as your head coach. On the staff are former Texas Longhorns players/assistants, Major Applewhite (also played QB at Texas) and Oscar Giles. Giles has coached the likes of Jackson Jeffcoat, Brian Orakpo, Sergio Kindle, and Tim Crowder.