New coach Paul Rhoads made a heck of a splash today by announcing the hiring of Tom Herman, offensive coordinator for Rice, to the same position for the Cyclones. Herman will also function as the Cyclone quarterbacks coach.
Here's how Rice has ranked nationally under Herman (2007-08) as well as the two years before Herman (Major Applewhite in '06, Scott Wachenheim in '05):
|Rush Off.||Pass Off.||Total Off.||Pass. Eff.||Scoring Off.|
|2008||62nd (144 ypg)||5th (327 ypg)||10th (471 ypg)||8th (163)||8th (41 ppg)|
|2007||103rd (111 ypg)||15th (293 ypg)||51st (404 ypg)||58th (127)||40th (31 ppg)|
|2006||60th (131 ypg)||47th (214 ypg)||58th (345 ypg)||52nd (126)||41st (27 ppg)|
|2005||11th (234 ypg)||117th (103 ypg)||84th (337 ypg)||113rd (91)||86th (22 ppg)|
Rice had been running a wishbone offense up through 2005, under Wachenheim. Applewhite came in in 2006, ditched the wishbone and made massive jumps in the passing game, which had ranked last in Division I-A in 2005. Herman maintained that improvement, in the passing game. While this hire may not appear to be great news to the stable of RB that have been brought in, I'm sure guys like Darius Darks and Sedrick Johnson have to be elated. Herman also likes to run the QB, which can only be good news to Jerome Tiller (and likely means we'll continue to go after dual-threat QBs in recruiting). For those of you that love the zone read, it appears Herman is a fan as well. Sounds like he'll try to utilize sets with one back, one TE and 3 WR.
Herman will take over an offense that ranked 59th nationally in scoring offense and 44th nationally in total offense. There is no question that the talent is there for Herman. If he's as good of a coach as it seems, he can do some things for the Cyclones. The big questions will revolve around how he utilizes Alexander Robinson and Bo Williams (both are Big 12 quality backs). One would have to imagine we'll sling it all over the field, but we have the talent at runningback that it sure can't be abandoned. The talent in the passing game cannot be denied. Herman will have a guy in Austen Arnaud that is undoubtedly one of the top returning quarterbacks in the conference, a backup option in Jerome Tiller that could be used as a dangerous dual-threat option, very good pass catching tight ends in Derrick Catlett, Collin Franklin, and Carter Bykowski, and a plethora of receivers, including Darks, Johnson, Marquis Hamilton and Houston Jones. He's got a full set of tinkertoys to play with. Let's see how he makes them fit.
The next big hire, obviously, is at defensive coordinator. Rhoads made one of the top hires out there for the offensive position...let's see him do it again. Our offense wasn't a huge problem last year, but it certainly can improve, both in terms of playcalling and performance. Herman is a MENSA member, so the guy is smart. Hopefully he likes what he sees and thinks we can really make a splash.