HD ONLY: Texas Longhorns Staff News, Recruit Updates, Tom Herman Insight and More

Welcome to HD Only: A weekly compilation of the latest news and nuggets obtained by the HornsDigest.com staff. In this week's report, HD brings inside information on the latest murmurs surrounding Tom Herman and his staff, recruiting notes. facilities upgrades and more!

Stan Drayton: The "Master Recruiter"


Chicago Bears RB coach Stan Drayton has taken a few year hiatus from the high school recruiting game, but his impact is still recognized in Columbus.

Drayton served as running backs coach under Tom Herman at Ohio State, which included coaching future NFL Rookie of the Year candidate Ezekiel Elliott.

The former assistant left the Buckeyes to take the same position in the NFL with the Chicago Bears after Herman was hired as Houston's head coach. 

As we have reported for several weeks, Drayton is on Herman's radar to join him at Texas. In talking with sources about the assistant coach, landing Drayton would be a huge win for the Longhorns, especially pertaining to recruiting.

“Stan is a master recruiter," said one source. "If you think about recruiting at the University of Texas, you want to get the best and brightest recruiters. That's Stan.

”If I were Tom Herman, of all of the people that were on that staff (with him at Ohio State), I think Stan would be the one I would go after the most.”

Speaking of Ohio State, in talking to a couple sources close to the situation, it's been quiet on the Tim Beck front.





Tom Herman: A Players' Coach

Taylor Estes - HornsDigest.com

Tom Herman has been a man on the go since being announced head coach Nov. 27. And that was the last time the local media had a chance to talk with the first-year head coach.

With his recent priorities being recruiting and completing his staff, we have spoken with several people close to Herman to try to get an insight look into what he will bring to Texas.

Of all of the information I have gathered from folks close to the head coach, one of the most interesting insights to his approach came from someone who witnessed it when Herman was offensive coordinator at Ohio State.

“He’s a really bright guy with a young mind. One of the biggest things about him is he is really a players' coach," said the source. "All of the guys who were in the Ohio State program really enjoyed playing for him."

This is far from the first time someone has referred to Herman as a "player's coach". He made his relationship with his team known at Houston, including buying a personalized "Grill" after beating Florida State in the Peach Bowl.

But what the source said next gave a very revealing, raw look into the method to Herman's madness.

“His offense is pretty complex, but he is able to break it down in bite-sized pieces for those guys in a way that they really enjoy and really can understand from a young age," a source said. “Coming in Day 1, he’s able to implement his offense and break it down into digestible pieces for those guys. Even though it’s really complex, he is able to break it down on their level and help them understand it, while still implementing the full game plan."

Herman took many tips from Urban Meyer after spending four years as his offensive coordinator, and molded many of Meyer's strategies into his own.

One of the most recognizable similarities is the coaches' constantly implementing competition in all team activities.

"It’s about breeding that competition in practice every day with them," said the source. “A lot of coaches don’t push that as much; it’s more about cohesiveness. 

"With Urban as with Tom, they push that competition each and every day. Whether it is in practice or in meetings, everything is a competition. 

"That really has been instrumental in his success.”

Some of the competitive activities he started at Houston was offense vs. defense circle drill following the stretching period of every practice. Herman would choose one player from offense and one from defense to go head-to-head for a wrestling championship belt.

The winner's side of the ball would win the belt and bragging rights for the day.

It is Herman's goal to build a cohesiveness within the Texas football program, as it was when he arrived at Houston. One source said Herman's young mind and personality is very relatable for his teams.

”With the camaraderie he produces amongst the players because of his personality, they really enjoy being around him and they really fight for him.”






Taylor Estes - HornsDigest.com

After talking to three sources close to the situation, it turns out Charlie Strong's Austin mansion that is now up for sale for  $4.6 million ...


... was purchased as an investment property by former Shell Oil executive Hiram de Fries, a close friend of Strong's and Urban Meyer's, and leased the home to Strong for $1, the sources said.

The house was purchased for roughly $3 million in 2014 after de Fries apparently walked into the main entrance and said, "This will be fine. Write up the paperwork." And then walked out of the 11,000 square foot home and told Strong he could move in whenever he wanted. If de Fries gets his asking price, he will make more than $1 million on his investment from three years earlier, the sources said.

Here's a little more info on Hiram de Fries from the Louisville Business Journal ... 






USA Today Sports Images

Q: What would/will it take to get Brewster? Would he single handedly influence any top tier guys to flip/sign with UT? (Wilson)

A lot of cold, hard cash, I think. Tim Brewster just got a raise from Jimbo Fisher at Florida State from what I'm told. (Jimbo got a little extra cash from FSU for not going to LSU and shared some of it with his staff.)

Hard to say - but Brewster has strong recruiting ties to guys like Marvin Wilson, Baron Browning, K'Lavon Chaisson and Jeffrey Okudah. So it wouldn't hurt to have Brewster on your side. He's a force. 


Q: Any planned facility upgrades/changes/remodels with Herman in town? Hear anything on if Herman is going to continue Charlie's tradition of getting the kids blazers for game days?

1) Lots of facility upgrades planned - especially the south end of DKR. I think you'll see a new indoor practice facility. Just a little bit of winning will get these things moving.

2) I think you'll see something similar with Herman in terms of player attire when traveling and on game day. UH players wore white dress shirts, red tie and black sports jackets when traveling and on game day. 


Q: What's the hold up with these offensive coaches Chip?

I think Tom Herman wants to announce the remaining staff positions at the same time. And I think he is being very thorough.


Q: Lol I was literally just about to start a thread about Brian Johnson. Saw a few people on the staff were following him on Twitter. Coached Dak at Miss St, 31 years old, and from Baytown, Texas. Makes a lot of sense to me. And how about Dan Hammerschmidt? Was Herman's RB coach at UH his first year and has a ton of versatility in what position group he can coach.

I think some people thought I was crazy when I mentioned him as a possible addition to the Texas staff almost three weeks ago, and now more and more people are realizing it's a real possibility.


Q: What has surprised you the most thus far about this staff? Any significant differences in Coach Herman's first few weeks compared to what Coach Strong's dealt with in his first few weeks?

1) Nothing's really surprised me. I think Chicago Bears' RB coach Stan Drayton has always been in the mix. I think Herman has looked at ways to be creative with the makeup of his offensive staff.

2) Herman's first few weeks on the job have been night and day different from Strong's first few weeks on the job. You never have more leverage than when you're first hired, and Herman is expending that capital like crazy. 

It will not only be about increasing the support staff for football but also getting the other areas of the athletic department "aligned." There's a lot going on behind the scenes right now.


Q: What's going on behind the scenes with Herman and staff right now?? What happened on dumpster dive to write article on SOE stuff from fall where you were being called out by SOE folks with a bad nickname....??

1) A lot in terms of Herman and the athletic department reaching agreement on the areas of "alignment."

2) It's still on my list of things to do. Steve Patterson got in the way, and then a slew of other things - like Baylor imploding, Jarrett Allen's recruitment, Texas football, Strong's departure and some more reporting coming soon on the Texas athletic department. But it's still on my to-do list. 


Q: Why isn't the staff going to bring in a juco or transfer qb??? Depending on Shane and Sam E is a HUGE risk?

Who says they aren't? I think there's a very good chance there will be another QB on campus by next fall.


Q: Do you see us getting a grad transfer at QB? What do the players think of the coaches? I heard that there were some demands/changes that Herman wanted to make, how are those coming along?

1) Very possibly

2) They know it's going to be hard. But they want to win and are willing to put in the work to get there.

3) The changes in the athletic department are in the early stages.


Q: Any indications of progress on a permanent AD?

This may not be one for tonight.....but perhaps for a future edition, what are some behind the scenes changes that are taking place with the Strong/Herman switch? E.G. Did the nutrition program change? Film routine? Off-season coaching approach? Academic counseling approach? Technology changes? Etc.

1) Nothing yet. I hear the earliest there might be movement on that front is the spring. But nothing in stone.

2) All of that is in the early stages.


Q: What's the word on the final to pieces to the coaching staff? Give me a Drayton/Brewster combo, and watch them make it rain big time ball players.

We're getting there. I think the names to keep an eye on right now are: Chicago Bears' RB coach Stan Drayton, Miss State QB coach Brian Johnson, Ohio State OC Tim Beck (although I'm hearing Johnson's name more) and a faint echo of Florida State TE/recruiting coordinator Tim Brewster


Q: With Daniel Young decomitting and it looking like he'll join Texas, how does that situation affect Eno? Does the staff have a preference and how will they handle this situation?

Some people collect wine. Others collect running backs. 


Q: Bout time they moved those damn fences in at the Disch. Should have been moved in when they went to the new bats.


Biggest impact will be in recruiting real hitters - power hitters - to Texas. 

In terms of day-to-day impact of the outfield fences (from the end of the dugouts in right and left to the center field wall coming down to about 375 - from 405 in the power alleys) will be less doubles and triples to the wall in the power alleys. And a few more home runs - hopefully! 


Q: When is the new basketball arena an tennis facilities going too be done? When is Chris Plonsky going too be fired please say soon please!!!

Shaka wants the location for the new basketball arena selected by the end of the school year.

The tennis facility was supposed to be done in the spring of 2017 - in time for Texas to host the Big 12 tennis championships - but the facility quickly fell six months behind schedule and will now be done by year end 2017.

Not sure how to answer that last question ... 


Q: Do you anticipate any fallout from the Joe Mixon tape? From what you know of Castiglione and Boren do you think there is any regret with how it was handled?

David Boren and Joe Castiglione can weather the storm through the bowl game. Boren was the most outspoken in  saying Mixon had paid his price by being suspended for the 2015 season. So I doubt there will be any change in direction on Mixon from Boren - unless there's an unforeseen development (which could obviously happen).


Q: This RB deal is confusing to me pertaining to Eno. I don't care who we get at RB, but the guy has been campaigning for a Texas offer, and he finally has one. 

Why would he be upset with the Carter verbal? Can he not also commit to Texas? I understand the patience the kids want and what not and him wanting to wait till the Army game, but what's his deal? lol 

Hasn't he already verbaled to another school? So what's the difference ... unless I'm wrong? But like other big schools, offers are basically a first come first serve basis. It's not like Texas don't have others waiting for a offer and would jump on it the first chance they get... Plus Carter is a EE

These are first-world problems. Collect running backs. 


Q: To jump on the back of the comment about moving the fences in at the Disch....... Why, for the love of God, do we continue to play baseball on turf???!!!!! Why will Texas not join the 21st century and put down grass?

David Pierce would like grass. But Texas brass has determined it's about $750,000 a year to maintain a grass field, and with all the camps Texas has at the Disch, the common-sense approach has been turf. But Pierce would like grass.

Heck, he got the fences brought in a year earlier than expected. Maybe he can pull off a grass field in time.


Q: The Spurs have the best winning percentage in NBA history and now, after beating the Rockets last night, the top winning percentage in pro basketball history even if using ABA records. Who is on your Spurs Mount Rushmore?

Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich, Manu Ginobili, David Robinson


Q: Any word on what's going on with Head Track coach Mario Sategna? Seeming more and more likely that UT moves on.

I hope not. I think Mario is the subject of a witch hunt. I hope he gets left alone. We should know soon. I think it's embarrassing Chris Plonsky can find reasons to go after Mario when she renews her sorry women's soccer coach Angie Kelly with a new, three-year, guaranteed contract and raise (with a second car) when Kelly's team quit on her this season. Mario has won four Big 12 titles. Kelly's team couldn't qualify for the Big 12 tournament after going 1-6-1 in B12 play.


Q: Chip, I have several interrelated questions:

1) Mike Perrin has done an admirable job as interim AD the past 16 months. The Tom Herman hiring was handled with unusual efficiency and minimal public politics by the BMDs. Hoping we got the right guy in Pierce to lead our baseball program. I give Perrin an A- for the job he's done (maybe even higher for cleaning up the mess he inherited). That said, when are we going to hire long-term AD and are you hearing any names on the prelim shortlist? Or is Perrin getting another extension?

2) Any updates on details for new basketball arena?

3) Any updates on upgrades / expansion to DKR Stadium? 

4) What's the latest on football players starting to get some minimal income while playing at college level? Haven't heard much about it in past year.

1) The names I've heard most as candidates at this point: Oliver Luck, Reid Ryan, TCU AD Chris del Conte. 

2) Shaka wants the site selected by the end of the school year, and I think Greg Fenves wants that, too.

3) Won't happen until after the 2017 football season (as long as there's some winning and excitement)

4) After a federal appeals court reversed the decision of a lower court to award student-athletes a $5,000 stipend for use of their image and likeness, there's been no movement.


Q: When is Texas going to hire a professional AD? First half of 2017? Second half of 2017? Or 2018?

Earliest I hear would be spring of 2017. But I hear Mike Perrin is hoping to stay on longer than 2017-18 - now that all the major sports have new coaches.


Q: Of the four candidates you mentioned, which ones are being considered as a play caller? To my knowledge, none of these guys has a lot of experience calling plays? Is there a scenario where Mehringer is named Co-OC and given play caller duties? Thx!

Like I said, I think Herman is trying to find ways to be creative with his offensive staff. I think you could see a co-OC situation a few different ways. Brian Johnson has called plays (at Utah). Stan Drayton hasn't. Obviously, Mehringer has, and Ohio State OC Tim Beck has.


Q: Is Herman going to be allowed to add positions to his personnel staff like he talked about doing ("to keep up with Alabama, Ohio State, and Clemson" I believe were his words)? If so, what positions will he add? If not, why not?

Oh, he will add to his support staff to be on par with other top national programs.


Q: Brian Johnson would be interesting. But if it is him, I would think he would be here by now. They are playing in a minor bowl. So do you think it is Beck and Drayton?

Not necessarily. Might just be waiting to announce all at the same time. Nothing likely to happen until after the New Year (but before the end of the dead period).


Q: Can we get a Herman interview on the Bottom Line. Can talk to you and Sean several times while at Houston and then dodge you once at Texas? lol..

We agreed to wait until after the New Year, when we actually have some news to talk about.


Q: Hey Chip, glad to know you've been enjoying your time with your kids.

I notice that several current UT football players and at least 1 new commit have posted video of themselves working out. My question is why are they posting the videos? 

I've read your thoughts on the UT men's basketball team, and while I'm disappointed with their performances so far, I must tell you I'm more upset about Karen Aston and the women's team. I know their four losses have been to teams ranked in the top 15 and that those opponents had only about three losses between them. Hey, I didn't expect a win over UConn, but to lose to Mississippi State and Stanford was unexpected to me, too. I was preparing for a better showing from the women. Is this another case of allowing these athletes to work on chemistry and fans simply needing to be patient?

1) Letting the coach know he's being taken seriously 

2) I've been surprised, too, that this year's team seemed to miss Imani Boyette, Empress Davenport and Celina Rodrigo more than I thought they would. They're still figuring out roles, but their upside is very high - obviously much higher than the men. 







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