Taylor Estes - HornsDigest.com

CHIP DIPS: UT'S OFFENSIVE STAFF 'ALIGNED'

In his latest CHIP DIPS, HD's CHIP BROWN takes a look at the Texas Longhorns' offensive staff as revealed by the Longhorn Network's special "Texas Football Aligned: The Offensive Staff"

CHIP DIP #1 ... Not sure how many here at HD saw the LHN special Sunday night - Texas Football Aligned: The Offensive Staff - but it covered some interesting ground, starting with offensive coordinator Tim Beck - UT's sixth offensive play caller in six seasons.

 

2012 - Bryan Harsin

2013 - Major Applewhite

2014 - Shawn Watson

2015 - Watson/Jay Norvell

2016 - Sterlin Gilbert

2017 - Tim Beck

It's clear Beck has been under the microscope as an OC/play caller at Nebraska and Ohio State and isn't going to be fazed.

"I don't know that it's much different from Nebraska or Ohio State," Beck said. "My players come first, and I'll work as long as I have to work to make sure they are prepared to go out there (and play)."

Beck said the ingredient his players most need to possess is "toughness."

"They gotta be the toughest guy in the room - mentally and physically," Beck said. "Mentally because the game has changed a lot in the last five years - coverages, the skill level of the players. And because of media. 

"I tell our guys about Bobby Bowden's saying, 'It's six inches from a halo to a noose.' So one minute, you're an angel and everyone loves you, and the next minute they want to kill ya. So you gotta be tough that way.

"And then physically. Everyone's trying to get 'em, especially the quarterback, because everyone's trying to stop the passing game, and it usually starts with hitting the quarterback."

 

 

CHIP DIP #2 ... When asked what has to develop this spring on offense, Tim Beck said "a better knowledge of general football."

Beck said players can't be focused on "results" but rather the "process" which includes all the attention to detail when it comes to technique.

"It's not just an outcome," Beck said. "It's a process that leads to an outcome. If you just focus on the results, a quarterback may come to the sideline and say, 'Yeah, coach, but the pass was complete,' and I'll say, 'Well, your footwork was off, and that's gonna catch up to you.'"

The mindset of his players has to get to one of "imposing our will on opponents consistently."

"We've got a ways to go on that," Beck said. "But I do see progress."

Two of the past three years, Beck's offenses have been Top 15 in scoring - in 2016, Ohio State averaged 39.4 ppg (13th in FBS) and Nebraska averaged 37.8 ppg in 2014 (12th in FBS).

In 2016, Texas averaged 31.9 ppg (46th in FBS), but only 27.7 ppg in conference play, which ranked No. 9 of 10 teams in the league, ahead of only Kansas (17.8 ppg). 

 

 

CHIP DIP #3 ... Texas tight ends coach Corby Meekins, the former head coach at Houston Westfield, said he got to know Tom Herman beginning in 2001 when Herman recruited Houston (and Westfield HS) while the receivers coach at Sam Houston State.

"He (Herman) recruited Houston all through the time he was at Rice and Iowa State, and then when he went to Ohio State, I lost touch with him for three years, because they had him recruiting Dallas," Meekins said. "But then when he got the Houston job, he reached out to me and asked if I'd like to be a part of his staff? I said, 'Absolutely.'"

 

 

CHIP DIP #4 ... Corby Meekins' daughter, Madison, put in her senior yearbook that what she'll remember most about her senior year was hearing, "Hey, if I send you my hudl film, will you send it to your dad?"

"I took a screen shot of it and sent it to Coach (Tom) Herman, and he and I were both crying laughing," Meekins said.

 

 

CHIP DIP #5 ... RB coach Stan Drayton, a prolific running back himself at Division III Allegheny (Pa.) College, earned the nickname "Bottle Rocket" from his coach at Allegheny for taking the early lead but finishing second to Notre Dame's  Raghib "Rocket" Ismail in the 55 meters at an indoor track meet.

"He said, 'I'm going to call you 'Bottle Rocket,' and I said, 'No,'" Drayton said. "But once it got to my teammates, I wasn't able to shake it. And it's stuck with me to this day."

 

 

CHIP DIP #6 ... Most Texas fans probably know Drayton coached Cowboys' RB Ezekiel Elliott and 49ers' RB Carlos Hyde at Ohio State but might not know he coached former Eagles' RB Brian Westbrook at Villanova (1997-99), who owns the NCAA all-purpose yardage record (9,512), and former Texans' RB Arian Foster at Tennessee (2008).

"Brian thought he was better than the level he was at playing at Villanova," Drayton said. "And he and I went to work every day. And it wasn't about just the protocol at practice or in the weight room, it was about the protocol of what you're doing when no coaches were around you. And he embraced that." 

Drayton said Westbrook had the best feet of any back he's coached ... Foster had the best vision ... and Elliott had the best home-run ability.

"I can't remember a single time when Arian Foster misread a play," Drayton said.

Drayton said Elliott really began developing into the back he is now in Ohio State's 2014 semifinal game vs Alabama en route to the Buckeyes' national title that season.

"It was literally happening before our eyes in that game," Drayton said.

 

 

CHIP DIP #7 ... Ezekiel Elliott gave Stan Drayton some big props at last year's NFL Combine. 

"Stan Drayton, he's my guy," Elliott said then. "He's the reason I'm in this position today. He made sure I knew not only what I was supposed to do on every play but what everyone else around me was doing, and that just made me so much better." 

Tom Herman made Drayton his associate head coach, because Herman said he believes Drayton is going to be "one of the next great head coaches in college football."

Drayton said "there were a couple boxes I needed to check off" in order to be considered for head-coaching jobs.

"I've never been a coordinator, and Tom (Herman) has given me the chance to be the run-game coordinator," Drayton said. "I've never been an associate head coach with real responsibilities, and Tom has given me that opportunity.

"Being a head coach is something me and my wife have prayed about, and it's something I think is in me. But saying that, I'm never going to be the guy who's going to compromise the job at hand for the sake of achieving an individual goal. That's not what I want my players to be. So, it's hard core focus on the Longhorns."

 

 

CHIP DIP #8 ... Drayton said he's working with Chris Warren III on his "why," his purpose.

"The thing with Chris is he just has to learn how to bring that 'what-it-takes-to-be-great' work ethic with him every single day," Drayton said.  "He's got to put in relentless work ethic every single day. So, we've worked with him about what his 'why' is, what his purpose is. And he probably won't even talk about it. I won't expose that.

"But he's got an incredible purpose and why about him. If he can just plug into that when things get tough and when he's away from football, when no one's watching, he has a chance to be great."

Drayton said the entire running back group "needs to put their why, their purpose at the forefront and just get mentally and physically tougher."

 

 

CHIP DIP #9 ... Receivers coach Drew Mehringer said he's learned a lot about teaching football and life from Tom Herman and Urban Meyer (as a graduate assistant at Ohio State) and learned a lot about  leadership after spending one year as OC at Rutgers last season.

"The biggest thing I learned is leadership is the ultimate driving factor for success," Mehringer said. "And when you don't have success, there's nowhere to look but in the mirror, because leadership drives production. So I learned a lot about how to be a better leader."

Mehringer said Herman and Meyer have "eerily similar personalities."

"Coach Herman is probably a little more outgoing with his thoughts," Mehringer said. "Coach Meyer probably keeps more inside. But both trust production."

 

 

CHIP DIP #10 ... I'm hearing good things about O-line coach Derek Warehime, who first worked with Herman as a GA at Rice under David Bailiff.

Warehime said he's walking into a much better situation on the O-line at Texas than he walked into at Houston two seasons ago. Obviously, a first-team All-American LT (Connor Williams) and freshman All-American C (Zach Shackelford) helps.

"The group here is closer than the group I first had there," Warehime said. "Comparing the two situations, they don't compare."

Warehime said he toughens up his offensive lineman with individual drills that require hitting someone else - "drills that you can't go half-speed."

Warehime said Herman is still similar to the guy he knew at Rice, when Warehime was a GA.

"Tom was then and is now - full of life, full of energy, loves what he does, wants to enjoy work," Warehime said. "But at the same time, he's got an edge that 'no one is going to outwork me.'"

 

 

 

 

*****

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