Editor's note: this is not the consensus opinion of the staff, and we will be profiling many other candidates.
The Miami Hurricanes continue to look for the next Head Coach for the football program. As their search continues, so does our series profiling the potential candidates for the Head Coaching position.
And, today, we look at one of the hottest names out there right now: Houston Cougars Head Coach Tom Herman.
Tom Herman's playhouse
No matter where you look in Herman's past, you'll find offenses that have been nothing if not explosive. Through stops at Sam Houston State, Rice, Iowa State, and, most recently, Ohio State, Herman has been on staffs that have built their offenses into formidable scoring groups.
Under Herman's direction over the past 3 years, Ohio State averaged 44.8, 45.5, and 37.2 points per game, respectively. After only 5,058 yards in 2012, the previously aforementioned offense exploded for more than 7,000 yards of total offense in each of the last 2 years.
Mixing spread principles and power run principles flawlessly, Herman's offenses have been among the hardest to stop in America. Obviously, having elite players matters, but Herman has found ways to best utilize the talents of those players to maximum effectiveness.
And, if you're thinking "well, that was just because (that school) was stacked with talent", let me direct you to the performance of Herman's new team, the University of Houston Cougars.
In just his first year as coach (as of January after the CFB playoff), Herman's team is undefeated at 8-0 (including a week 2 win AT LOUISVILLE, and is averaging 45.9 points per game, while rolling up more than 530 yards of offense per game.
So, yeah. Herman can coach up some offense. And, with only a showdown against Memphis, themselves a mid-major powerhouse under previously profiled coach Justin Fuente, as a game they could lose, it is entirely possible that Herman could lead his team to an undefeated record in just his first year on the job.
Not a bad start to a head coaching career, if you ask me.
Offense. Offense. Offense. Just look at those stats in the previous section. Need I really say more?
Immediate Early Success. In his first year at Houston, the Cougars have gone on the road to Louisville and won by 3 over the ACC member Cardinals, arguably the best team Houston will play this year. Outside of that game, the Cougars have an average margin of victory of 30.86 points per game, and the CLOSEST of those wins was a 2 touchdown victory over Tulsa on the road.
Recruiting. Yes, this matters. And yes, this is something that Herman does well. Let me put it to you like this: in the 2016 (current) recruiting cycle, Herman and his staff have Ed Oliver, a 5-star DT who is a top 15 player in this class, committed to play his college football AT HOUSTON. Those kinds of players don't go to mid-major programs unless they're coming out of JUCO after having had an issue at their first school. Yeah, that's a major talent going there.
On top of that, players routinely flocked to play in Herman's offense while he coached with Urban Meyer. His offense paired with South Florida skill position talent? Oh man. OH MAN. That's like a dream.
X's and O's for the new millenium. I've already chronicled Herman's proficiency as an Offensive Coach. But, on top of that, he knows what he wants to do on Defense, and has employed coaches to create a varied and dynamic system on that side of the ball that supports the explosiveness of the offense.
Don't believe me? Herman's Houston team is tied for the national lead in takeaways with 22 through 8 games (average of 2.75 turnovers created per game). They're also first nationally in turnover margin, +15 on the year. AND, with 50 tackles for loss on the year (an average of 6.25 TFLs per game), it's not just luck. It's an aggressive defense that is schemed well and performs well.
So, the offense is innovative, and the defense is an aggressive scheme that is more disruptive (in terms of turnovers created) than any other in America.
Lack of experience as a Head Coach. This is the major knock on Herman: he's only in his first year as a head coach. Now, it's possible that he is just that good and on the path towards a great coaching career. But, there's also the chance that he's hot right now, but won't have the staying power over years.
With only a partial season as Head Coach under his belt, there isn't a track record of performance to rely on to project Herman's future performance. So, even though he's done well as an assistant coach and is doing well as a head coach, how sure can we be that Herman will continue his success in Miami, were he to get the job?
Houston isn't Miami. In a similar vein to the previous point, there's a clear difference in the levels of Houston's and Miami's programs. Whether you're looking at the conference, the history, brand, importance to College Football, or nearly any other metric, Houston and Miami are on different levels of the College Football world.
How can we know FOR SURE that Herman is ready to step up to the big leagues? How do we know that his system and his success will translate when it's put against the likes of Virginia Tech, Florida State, and Georgia Tech as opposed to the likes of Tulsa, Tulane, and SMU?
Lack of South Florida ties. This goes into recruiting, and this matters. Herman, who hails from Cincinnati, and played collegiately in California, and has coached in Texas (3x) and Ohio has minimal ties to South Florida. To many, that matters, and it matters a lot.
Are we REALLY doing the mid-major coach to major program promotion thing again? We all know what the past 5-ish years under Al Golden have been like. But, going back to the start of things, Al Golden was a hot, young, up-and-coming coach from a mid-major type program who took the jump up to Miami and, well, it didn't go so hot. With other candidates who 1. have more head coaching experience, and 2. have higher level experience, and 3. have a "name", are we really going to gamble on another mid-major coach in the hopes this time it works out?
Tom Herman is quickly making a name for himself as one of the hottest young coaches in America. He's energetic, he's innovative, and, to this point of his coaching career, his teams win. He's well-renowned for his offenses (and rightly so), and his defense in his first year as a head coach is far better than people are giving it credit for being.
Herman is an "outsider", yes, but he's a good coach who's doing a good job and could be destined for great things in his career. His offense is great, his defense is attacking and VERY underrated, and pairing those things with the talent Miami has on the roster and who could (should) come here in the near future through recruiting, Herman could vault into the top tier of collegiate coaches.
Reaching down to the mid-major level for another coach is a risk, but it's one that Miami may need to take in order to fully return to being among the College Football Elite. And, if there's a mid-major coach that can come in and help turn the Canes back into a top team, it's Houston Cougars Head Coach Tom Herman.
Stay tuned for more articles on potential candidates for the position in 2016, right here on SOTU. Feel free to leave plenty of comments below on who you think should be the next Hurricanes Head Coach.