Tom Herman: The Man and His Methods

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Tom Herman: The Man and His Methods

Postby UTwiz on Sat Nov 26, 2016 2:34 pm

I pulled this from OB. This is from a poster (does not work for OB) who does analysis for work and constantly posts deep dive analysis on football topics. I know it's tldr, but I would highly suggest digesting it.

*****Warning: this is a longer post. It is designed to be an in-depth study of who Tom Herman is, and what he believes in as a coach. If you are someone who doesn't prefer in-depth reading on football topics, you will likely be happier in your life if you skip this post altogether*****


The Genesis of a Coach

When ex Florida head coach Urban Meyer decided to accept the head coaching position at Ohio State in December of 2011, he was a very different man than he was in 2010. Certainly, his time away from the game wasn’t about golf and broadcasting appearances—it was about research. Meyer’s Florida team had peaked under it’s current ideas, and was in the process of a denouement of sorts, and triggered by team arrests and rival coaches who seemed to have cracked the code of how to prepare for Meyer’s best shots.

At the end of this period, Meyer emerged as a much more intelligent coach. He spent his time, and his access as a broadcaster, studying the methods and schemes of his rivals, mentally discovering the root causes behind the success of systems as diverse as those run by Nick Saban on the one hand, and Chip Kelley on the other.

When he finished this process, Meyer possessed a new set of values as a coach. In his previous system, Meyer believed passionately in power football run out of a gap based blocking scheme. He wanted to tell other teams what the agenda was going to be for the day, and then enforce that agenda come hell or high water.

The new approach, installed at Ohio State, represented a major shift toward the strategic. Ohio State would end up adopting a clever hybrid system that fit Meyer’s new venture into the land of adaptive/strategic scheming, but still rubbed his belly with his favorite comfort of the power run. This new system was built on a hybrid of zone blocking, power run, no huddle spread, and Oregon’s innovation of the sweep. It was—and still is—a very clever offense that learns from opponents as the game unfolds, attacking the team's previous tendencies in the first quarter, and attacking that same team's demonstrated tendencies on that day by the fourth quarter.

Who was the guy that Meyer tapped as his parter in forming, and running, this new breed of offense? A coach who, at the time, was relatviely unknown among fans but whose name was already being whispered with momentum among the head coaching elite—Iowa State’s Tom Herman.

Enter Tom Herman

If you have only followed Tom Herman’s ascent in college football by the most recent headlines, you will have the wrong image of him. In fact, the article written on him that has reached the largest audience to date focused on his attack of Machismo in college football—the “kissing coach” article. And from this article you may get the impression that Herman is an emotional coach, a big softee, who loves his players like a five year loves crawling into a bucket of wiggling puppies.

This would be the wrong impression to take, and for a number of reasons.

To begin, Tom Herman is not a soft male. There’s nothing in the world wrong with being a big softy, it’s just that Herman isn’t it. His confidence can border almost on arrogance, though he seems sincerely driven to keep that line in check. In fact, even the origin of his kissing ritual is born of a need for balance within his program—he is incredibly demanding of his players and pushes them to their limits as competitors. In explanation of the ritual, he says that he knows of only two forces in the world that can inspire deep sacrifice in individuals for the sake of others on their team—love and fear. And to ensure that his players never lived in fear of his pushing of them, he chose to balance the equation with a metaphor. A demonstration. “You’re going through this hell because I love you—it’s not all about fear”. And yet that line between fear and love is expertly managed. Herman is no Mack Brown in the team room, often dropping the “F bomb” in his his speeches and directly calling out players by name in front of their peers—not as abuse, but as a commitment to radical accountability among brothers of a common cause. He openly suggests that he runs the hardest off season camp in the country, and there's a bit of a masochistic twinkle in his eye as he says it.

Herman hates to lose. HATES to lose. When you see him even discuss the philosophical idea of losing, his saddle leather Allen Edmonds shoes begin to nervously tap, his foot sometimes openly bouncing with anxiety right on camera, as if he were trying to shake off some kind of black slime from his soul. He doesn’t hide from the idea of losing, rather, he immediately metabolizes it. Just like with Plato’s Leonidus, who walking along the wall of the city was haunted as he saw the piles of dead bodies around the executioner, Herman has similarly trained himself to run at the bodies, holding his eyes wide open, and screaming “See for yourselves, since you’re possessed! Take your fill of the lovely sight!” He stares deeply into the dark void that he hates, and it allows it to haunt him just enough. He forces his players to feel losses, as well, and to face them. “I want them to know how awful it is to fail, without them becoming failures themselves.”

He posses the sharp wit and clever humor of the intelligent—his is a mind on fire. More reserved in his formal media sessions, once he gets more comfortable in an interview his pan-like sense of mischief begins to express itself in a rapid fire, almost staccato rhythm. He’s smarter than you, and his humor can outpace your sincere questions and discovery processes, and the only reason you don’t hate him for it is that his awe-shucks and humble self comes forward in the pauses. He is painfully sincere in the moments between his bursts of sharp humor. It’s almost endearing to watch a man so driven by two competing characters. He works his ass off to be the best guy in the room, and then he somehow gets sheepish as he approaches confirmation of that fact in his intellectual duals.

The combination is magnetic for most of those around him. He’s just… extremely likable, while simultaneously being a formidable adversary who has been personally watched by the game's great minds.


One of the Deep Strategists of College Football Decides to Start Building Programs

Herman wants to be crystal clear: “We firmly believe that culture eats strategy for lunch every day of the week.” And following these comments, we learn that Herman spends the vast majority of his time building a strategic program. I guess you could say he has a dual focus, and takes those two focuses very, very seriously.

“Every play we run has an answer built into it… we learn from teams as the game goes on.” He doesn’t just run plays and pray to the football gods that his opponents show up ill-prepared. He attacks the root of their performance, shifting with them as the game goes on, from the moment he enters the film room on Saturday night until the time the clock draws to zeroes a little under seven days later.

In this sense, though the biggest names in Herman’s coaching tree are Mack Brown and Urban Meyer, I think it’s more useful to view him as a new and emerging breed of coach from the methodical tradition of guys like Bill Belichick and Nick Saban. The later represent more his trajectory and ambition, while the former names like Meyer provide the fuel for the current fires. In fact, Herman still uses a lot of Mayer’s leadership training in his current coaching, including an almost Seal Team Six obsession with the concept of brotherhood and the self sacrifice implied by that idea. The Saturday field is not about good athletes putting on their own show, it is about a group of men, bonded deeply by a commitment to competitive brotherhood, sacrificing their own bodies and minds for the sake of the ideals of the team as a philosophical unit. They measure themselves by their own standards, and those standards are both demanding and detail oriented.

According to Herman, to win in college football requires either doing something totally different from your opponents, or it requires doing most of the same things as your opponents “but doing them much better than they do it.” To follow this idea up, Herman says though an almost mischievous smile, “there’s no “different” left in college football right now, so we have to be better from top to bottom".

With Herman, Meyer rewrote his offense and OSU went 38-3 between 2012 and 2014, won a National Championship via the new playoff system, and put up more than 500 yards against Nick Saban in the playoffs—in the middle of Alabama’s historic decade of championships.

On the surface, his concepts built simply enough. At Ohio State, Herman and Meyer co-built the new offense together with Herman being a key architect in the process. Meyer didn't play the lone megalomaniac, he played the mentor in chief. The head of the tribe. The unique combination of inside zone blocking, power run from the no- huddle spread, and (when opponents push in to stop the power run concepts) Oregon’s sweep innovations were designed to attack all parts of the field with smart playcalling that is extremely difficult for opponents to predict, and which feeds information back to the coaching staff as the game unfolds. It’s a very young version of an offense that wants to be a bit like the robots of Westworld—perhaps a bit naive in their infancy, but over time they learn more and more and instead of a scheme losing momentum as opponents face you year after year, the scheme actually gains momentum against them. It is the antibody to the illness that set into Meyer’s previous scheme at Florida. At Florida, Meyer was 65-15. At Ohio State, Meyer is 60-5.

Some have called this offense the “power spread”. Other have said, perhaps a bit more accurately, the “smashmouth spread”. And the basic idea is this—you have to run the ball, and you have to run the ball from the spread, from an up temp/no huddle cadence (at times), and you have to use the passing game—and some other unique concepts—to prevent the defense from simply loading up against the run. When you’re outmatched, you have to do this for the purpose of generating big plays. When you’re not outmatched, you have to use this break their back via 10+ play drives that break the opponent's will and confuse their defenses. Your team needs to get smarter as the game goes on, and for the other team, they need to be getting more and more foggy about what is happening to them. By his own words, Herman doesn’t just attack the other team’s plays—he attacks what they believe in.

This gives Herman a fascination with brilliant coaches—the brainy type—in his staffs. Like Belichick and Saban, he seeks out good teachers who come to life in a clever system and who can adapt to opponents week to week and even quarter to quarter. This can be seen in his staff at Houston, with an offense led by the cerebral Major Applewhite and a blue collar defensive propeller-head in Orlanda. Herman has been rumored to covet the Belichickian mind of LSU’s defensive coordinator, Aranda, as well as the recruiting genius of Tim Brewster. Unlike the insecure leader who can’t tolerate to have other bright stars around him, Herman seems to feed off the dynamic talent around him. He’s not threatened by the possibility, he’s energized by it (emotionally buoyed by his formidable confidence and ego). And yet, that ego is checked by the group he keeps around him as well—personal ego is not tolerated on the football field, only the firm obsession of the team and the brotherhood they are knitting together.

His teams know his drumbeat of mantras: Win the field position battles and the kicking game, win the turnover battles, score touchdowns in the red zone (not field goals), win by number of explosive plays, and for four quarters on Saturday, you lay yourself the hell down for the guys standing around you. Shame isn’t borne of losing—as horrific as losing is—shame is borne of failing to honor your brothers with every ounce of what you have to offer. In following these rules, his staff often decides to go for it on fourth downs (even fourth and long). And the defensive staff is as bought into the style of play as much as the offensive staff—the defensive staff embrace fourth down turnover risks and are coached accordingly.

From Meyer, Herman cites that a full “90% of my team foundation work comes from Meyer”. And Meyer’s team foundation roots were developed to be similar to that of guys like Nick Saban—extremely detail oriented, optimized for giving players a clear, annual picture of their conditioning, study, schedule, and anticipated contribution to the program.

From Mack Brown, Texas fans will see a unique portfolio of ideas learned. Gone are Mack's cookies and Mayberry graciousness, replaced by a very hard edged version of Mack’s core beliefs: teams are a family—not a business; explosive plays are dear measures of offensive success, grades and team behavior are top priorities. But in terms of temperament, Herman is much more Meyer than Mack. Herman is a control freak, who once ripped up the rubber floor of the Houston football offices and started replacing the worn out tiles himself. He is obsessed with details related to the core beliefs and root causes of performance of his teams. He has no issue crawling up a player’s ass and out his eyeballs for failing to attend to perfect form, and he believes that all criticism and praise should happen out in the open in his programs.

Along these lines, he is just fine weeding players out of the program if they don’t buy into his meticulous approach—just like your freshman physics class at UT, they’re not trying to help you get a good grade, they’re trying to get you to quit because the second year professors only want to work with survivors. When he first came to Houston, Herman locked the players out of their own locker room for a full 5 days until every single player could do 30 up-downs with perfect form.

Also a bit unique, Herman takes a bit of mischievous glee in employing technology to assist with his drive for perfect form. He uses drones in practice, he loves how Kelley used sleep sensors to measure his team’s sleeping habits, and he wants the facilities of the program to be a mothership of forward progress—not a just a living room to sit around and grow old in. If Herman believes it will help him, or his staff, get the details better drilled and understood he will strip the walls and find a hammer and a tech support guy to help him pull it off. He actually knows who manufactures his helmets and chin straps, and is up everyone’s ass about ensuring the air bladders are properly filled. He’s a stickler for applying the best thinking of technology, physiology, and science to increase performance and offset injury and he demands those around him to partake in a similar nerdiness. This isn’t to say he’s a micromanager—Herman likes delegating systems to smart system managers. But the standard the system is measured against is his own, and he won’t tolerate shoddy work to have his name put on it. Most of all, he is terrified of complacency. He has worked in the antidote for complacency in everything he does, and is always looking for new ways to prevent players from “eating the poisonous cheese”.

Perhaps the biggest addendum to all of this is his fundamental motivation—Herman doesn’t do this because he’s just a very particular fellow. He’s not even just a guy who likes being in the football business. He is a man obsessed with winning and in building winning cultures around him. Losing causes him physical distress, so much so that he’s perfectly fine admitting when he’s is not up to par with something and needs to go back to the drawing board. Nothing to him—not open conversations on him and his staff’s performance, not the hot flash of guilt you get when you admit you were outmatched—nothing hurts him more than losing.

And nothing is more important to him in his life than sharing, among the family of brothers he knits together with his philosophies, camps, and mentorship, the feeling of winning in college football.
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Re: Tom Herman: The Man and His Methods

Postby U2-Horn on Sat Nov 26, 2016 3:13 pm

I'm all for Herman, but it was hard to keep a straight face for a lot of that.
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Re: Tom Herman: The Man and His Methods

Postby Bucharest on Sat Nov 26, 2016 3:15 pm

You read that!?!
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Re: Tom Herman: The Man and His Methods

Postby Silverado on Sat Nov 26, 2016 3:52 pm

So can we beat Kansas or what?
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Re: Tom Herman: The Man and His Methods

Postby LMQueen on Sat Nov 26, 2016 4:14 pm

#blessed


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Re: Tom Herman: The Man and His Methods

Postby UTwiz on Sat Nov 26, 2016 10:36 pm

http://insider.espn.com/blog/ncfrecruiting/on-the-trail/insider/post?id=78435

The moment Texas’ recruiting rivals have been fearing has arrived.

Despite all of his success on the recruiting trail and a top-10 finish this past February, Charlie Strong’s 2017 class had been stuck in the mud for months because prospects weren’t sure whether he would return to the sideline in Austin next season. That question has now been answered, as the University of Texas fired Strong on Saturday and announced the hiring of former Houston coach Tom Herman.

"If you thought H-Town Takeover was big, just wait until Tom gets to Austin,” a Big 12 assistant said. “It's going to be an entire state of Texas takeover. He's recruited at such a high level everywhere that he's been, so it's realistic to expect immediate success. You saw what he did at Houston without half the resources he will have at Texas. It's kind of scary to think how well he might do."

Texas currently has seven commitments, including five ESPN 300 recruits: QB Sam Ehlinger, defensive ends Ta'quon Graham and Lagaryonn Carson, and receivers Damion Miller and Montrell Estell. As another Big 12 recruiter said when he first heard the news about Strong’s departure, the move could be the best thing to happen for the Longhorns’ recruiting effort in years.

“I was rooting for Charlie to stick around because he’s a good guy, but also selfishly because I didn’t want to see the beast awoken again,” the Big 12 recruiter said. “We knew what we were recruiting against with Charlie Strong. With all of the uncertainly that surrounded him, it was easy for us to do damage going head-to-head against them. They weren’t going to beat anybody, but I’m afraid we’re going to get caught up in a wave of excitement that nobody will be able to stop.

“They just hit the reset button on the all of the recruiting wars in Texas.”

A Big Ten assistant who recruits in Texas agreed. He said few schools in the country can match what UT brings to the table from a tradition, facility, academic support and fan support standpoint. The only thing that has been missing from the Longhorns’ recruiting efforts for 2017 has been excitement, but he believes that’s going to quickly change with a new coach on board.


“We’re going to get steamrolled by that momentum,” he said. “… Texas already has so many advantages over every school it recruits against, other than maybe Ohio State and Alabama. But now they’re going to have all those advantages, a fired-up fan base, and high school coaches throughout the state that will likely be willing to bend over backwards to help the new guy bring the Longhorns back to the top.

“I told our coaches in a staff meeting on Monday, the best way to look at it, is that no commitment is safe in Texas if the Longhorns’ new coach comes knocking on their door.”

Don’t be shocked if several of Texas’ top recruits initially rule out the Longhorns, because Strong was very popular with prospects and their families. But one SEC recruiting coordinator said even the best players will get caught up with the hype around Herman and the Horns and will eventually give Texas a strong look.

“Experience tells me there will be a handful of top prospects that will drop Texas because of this,” the SEC coach said. “But they almost always come back around once the new guy gets into the living room. Players are drawn to a place like Texas, not just because of who the coach was, but because of so many other reasons. I wouldn’t be surprised if they pull of some shockers in late December and January.”

That’s where Herman comes in. The 41-year-old’s ties to the Lone Star State are extensive. He was an assistant at five different schools in the state and coached in the Big 12 at Iowa State.


And Herman’s success recruiting the state has proved how much those connections matter. As an assistant at Ohio State, Herman landed Dontre Wilson and J.T. Barrett out of Texas in the 2013 class. At Houston, the #HTownTakeover energized the Cougars’ recruiting and impressed recruits. That energy helped Houston land its best-ever recruiting class, including Ed Oliver, the only five-star prospect to ever sign with a Group of 5 school.

Now it’s up to Herman to bring all that together and unleash it in Austin.

"If there ever was anybody that was ready to recruit at this level and under the microscope that you're under when you're the coach at Texas, it's Tom Herman,” an SEC assistant said. “He showed me when he was in Ohio State that he was not only a very good coach, but a dynamite recruiter. He pulled some guys at Houston they had no business getting.

"He so charismatic and full of energy. He's going to get a lot of prospects and moms and dads fired up about the Texas program in a way that we never saw under Charlie Strong."
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Re: Tom Herman: The Man and His Methods

Postby UTwiz on Sat Nov 26, 2016 11:34 pm

"Lord protect me from my friends. I can take care of my enemies." - Brandon Collins' forearm tatoo
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Re: Tom Herman: The Man and His Methods

Postby Bucharest on Sun Nov 27, 2016 12:23 am

Jesus, get a room already.
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Re: Tom Herman: The Man and His Methods

Postby UTwiz on Sun Nov 27, 2016 12:42 am

Already did. These next nine months are going to suck.
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Re: Tom Herman: The Man and His Methods

Postby Bucharest on Sun Nov 27, 2016 2:15 am

Is he pregnant or you?
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Re: Tom Herman: The Man and His Methods

Postby Silverado on Sun Nov 27, 2016 11:19 am

Why not both?
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Re: Tom Herman: The Man and His Methods

Postby Bucharest on Sun Nov 27, 2016 11:45 am

That's how amazing he is!!!
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Re: Tom Herman: The Man and His Methods

Postby McKinneyHorn on Sun Nov 27, 2016 4:56 pm

Quote: “Every play we run has an answer built into it… we learn from teams as the game goes on.” He doesn’t just run plays and pray to the football gods that his opponents show up ill-prepared.

I'm trying to picture this during and after the Coogs loss to SMU...kinda comical. :lol: Hopefully that's not on the same level as losing to a Kansas. But he did give the excuse he had some players injured after the loss to Memphis, so it's all good I guess.

Go Herman!
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Re: Tom Herman: The Man and His Methods

Postby UTwiz on Sun Nov 27, 2016 4:58 pm

McKinneyHorn wrote:Quote: “Every play we run has an answer built into it… we learn from teams as the game goes on.” He doesn’t just run plays and pray to the football gods that his opponents show up ill-prepared.

I'm trying to picture this during and after the Coogs loss to SMU...kinda comical. :lol: Hopefully that's not on the same level as losing to a Kansas. But he did give the excuse he had some players injured after the loss to Memphis, so it's all good I guess.

Go Herman!


Less you. Much less.
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Re: Tom Herman: The Man and His Methods

Postby McKinneyHorn on Mon Nov 28, 2016 6:01 am

UTwiz wrote:
McKinneyHorn wrote:Quote: “Every play we run has an answer built into it… we learn from teams as the game goes on.” He doesn’t just run plays and pray to the football gods that his opponents show up ill-prepared.

I'm trying to picture this during and after the Coogs loss to SMU...kinda comical. :lol: Hopefully that's not on the same level as losing to a Kansas. But he did give the excuse he had some players injured after the loss to Memphis, so it's all good I guess.

Go Herman!


Less you. Much less.


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Re: Tom Herman: The Man and His Methods

Postby tamut98 on Wed Jul 19, 2017 8:33 am

Since we are in that last bit of quiet between media days and fall practice, are there any impressions that you have that have changed or been cemented based on Herman's time at Texas so far?

Mine... he and the staff are certainly aligned. It sounds like they sweat the small stuff. When he talks, he sounds like he is quite comfortable and confident being the head coach at The University and it is apparent that he has always expected to be in a position like this. He sounds like he has been a head coach his entire career.

It IS impressive that he has been able to get the facilities upgrades in place in a timely manner.

Just as impressive is the social media presence that he and his staff have established.

my .02 cents.
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Re: Tom Herman: The Man and His Methods

Postby HornMafia on Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:15 am

All those things are true. Just show me the baby now.

By the way, we should at least mention the Reese Leitao and Casey Horny situations. Not sure if it reeks of arrogance, desperation or complete control, but those things leave us exposed.
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Re: Tom Herman: The Man and His Methods

Postby Bucharest on Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:52 am

Don't you mean the icing?
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Re: Tom Herman: The Man and His Methods

Postby LMQueen on Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:35 am

Image

He is super friendly and has a messy office.

(Pictured with me is Sandy Williams, Ricky's mom).


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Re: Tom Herman: The Man and His Methods

Postby tamut98 on Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:14 am

Cool pic, LMQ. I see you are sporting some Kendra Scott(?)... (my daughter works in the Distribution Center). I will make sure we crash a tailgate and get you a discount card.

That being said, Matt, I agree on the the Leitao and Horny situations. I hope that if there is any thing that comes out that casts further doubt on their character, they are booted. Hopefully they both appreciate the generous new opportunity.

And yes, he needs to show the baby.
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Re: Tom Herman: The Man and His Methods

Postby txlonghorn47 on Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:24 pm

Maybe I'm drinking the Kool Aide, but I'm more confident without a game being played than I ever was about Strong. And I was a Strong fan in the beginning. I just feel like Herman understands the job way more and has utilized the resources that come with the job more than Strong ever attempted to.

We shall see.
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Re: Tom Herman: The Man and His Methods

Postby UTwiz on Wed Jul 19, 2017 6:48 pm

Leitao and Horny were great moves. Tom has done more in 6 months than what Strong could muster in all 3 years. Some people think we have to wait until September to get a look at the baby. They're severely mistaken. The baby got here last November.
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Re: Tom Herman: The Man and His Methods

Postby LMQueen on Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:57 pm

tamut98 wrote:Cool pic, LMQ. I see you are sporting some Kendra Scott(?)... (my daughter works in the Distribution Center). I will make sure we crash a tailgate and get you a discount card.

That being said, Matt, I agree on the the Leitao and Horny situations. I hope that if there is any thing that comes out that casts further doubt on their character, they are booted. Hopefully they both appreciate the generous new opportunity.

And yes, he needs to show the baby.


Thank you! Yes, I do love Kendra Scott!


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Re: Tom Herman: The Man and His Methods

Postby tamut98 on Thu Jul 20, 2017 7:57 am

UTwiz wrote:.... Some people think we have to wait until September to get a look at the baby. They're severely mistaken. The baby got here last November.


I want to believe but the last 7 years has effectively crushed my ability to have hope based on unseen results from off season rhetoric. Don't get me wrong, I want to believe that things are different and I do think that they are but we won't really know anything until these guys get punched in the face.
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Re: Tom Herman: The Man and His Methods

Postby UTwiz on Thu Jul 20, 2017 12:10 pm

tamut98 wrote:
UTwiz wrote:.... Some people think we have to wait until September to get a look at the baby. They're severely mistaken. The baby got here last November.


I want to believe but the last 7 years has effectively crushed my ability to have hope based on unseen results from off season rhetoric. Don't get me wrong, I want to believe that things are different and I do think that they are but we won't really know anything until these guys get punched in the face.


You were effective at using "I" until the last part of the last sentence.
"Lord protect me from my friends. I can take care of my enemies." - Brandon Collins' forearm tatoo
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