If Beck is real deal, of­fense will reach potential

Austin American-Statesman Sunday - - SPORTS - Cedric Golden

Tim Beck en­joys an ex­plo­sive of­fen­sive play like any of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor, but it’s not the only part of foot­ball that gets him ex­cited.

For one, he’s a real fan of a tough-minded con­sis­tency, which in most cases leads to long-term suc­cess.

Light­ning strikes can turn games around, but a con­stant storm will add up to more wins. Texas’ new of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor has driven that point home to his play­ers all sum­mer. Con­sis­tent win­ning can come with to­tal com­mit­ment and the right mind­set, re­gard­less of the chal­lenges that crop up.

Texas will start the Tom Her-

man era Satur­day at home against Mary­land. He’s the Longhorns’ third head coach in five years. He hired Beck from Ohio State.

“We have to keep work­ing the men­tal tough­ness,” Beck said. “It’s one thing to be phys­i­cally tough and say, ‘I can run into that wall or go hit a guy,’ but can you do it over and over and over again for four quar­ters when you’re hot and you’re tired and it’s rain­ing and you’re in a hos­tile en­vi­ron­ment? Men­tally you have to train your­self to be able to con-

tinue to do that. That’s still a process that we’re go­ing through.”

Beck, 51, won’t fill up a re­porter’s note­book with snappy quotes like Her­man, whom he re­placed as Ohio State’s of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor. But Her­man be­lieves Beck will help re­turn great quar­ter­back­ing to Texas, some­thing that’s been lack­ing in these parts for quite a while.

Part of em­brac­ing a chal­lenge is over­com­ing a stum­bling block from the past. They say you’re only as good as your last per­for­mance, and it goes without say­ing that Beck is more than ready for the Longhorns to take the field. He ex­pe­ri­enced suc­cess as a high school coach in Texas and as an as­sis­tant from places like Mis­souri State to Ne­braska but found him­self on the wrong side of his­tory in his fi­nal game at Ohio State.

No team coached by Ur­ban Meyer had ever been shut out un­til his 2016 Buck­eyes suf­fered a 31-0 em­bar­rass­ment at the hands of even­tual na­tional cham­pion Clem­son in a Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off semi­fi­nal. The twotime Broyles Award finalist was never the pri­mary play-caller — Meyer and co-of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Ed Warin­ner were a huge part of that process — but Beck took some heat after that Fi­esta Bowl loss. A team that av­er­aged 39.4 points per game man­aged only nine first downs. J.T. Bar­rett fin­ished with 127 yards, two in­ter­cep­tions, zero touch­down passes and a 15.2 quar­ter­back rat­ing.

Three days after the school’s first shutout loss since 1920, Beck was Austin-bound.

Her­man had ac­tu­ally con­sid­ered hir­ing him at Hous­ton be­fore Meyer hired him in 2015. He liked Beck’s knowl­edge of the game from the times they talked foot­ball on the re­cruit­ing trail but didn’t pull the trig­ger un­til he got a player’s per­spec­tive on the coach. To that end, he put in phone calls to Ohio State quar­ter­backs Bar­rett and Cardale Jones for im­promptu char­ac­ter ref­er­ences.

Their take? Tim Beck is the real deal.

“That car­ries a lot of weight with me,” Her­man said. Meyer “had a lot of great things to say about him as well, and so, very uniquely much like Ma­jor (Ap­ple­white) was, we need a guy who can bring some ideas to the ta­ble, a guy who can man­age the room, a guy who’s got ex­pe­ri­ence, a guy who can coach the quar­ter­backs, a guy who can re­cruit.”

As for his new­est chal­lenge, Beck will have more far in­put in play-call­ing than he did in Colum­bus, though Her­man, run­ning backs coach Stan Dray­ton and oth­ers also will have their say.

“Tim Beck is a real guy,” Dray­ton said. “He’s a very un­selfish guy. He de­signs our of­fense with every po­si­tion in mind.”

And un­like in Colum­bus, where he had to deal with two cham­pi­onship-cal­iber quar­ter­backs in Bar­rett and Jones, Beck en­ters this opener know­ing that Shane Buechele is the ob­vi­ous choice as the starter even though the sopho­more is far from a fin­ished prod­uct. He’s test­ing Buechele daily and grad­ing how the quar­ter- back trans­lates the of­fense back to him.

The goal isn’t for­eign. Move the chains, quickly and often.

“We don’t stop; that’s the thing,” Beck said. “Ev­ery­thing is tempo. We’re go­ing. We’re con­stantly on them. Go, go, go.”

Her­man be­lieves he has the right man for this job.

Beck won’t wow any­one with words, but words don’t mat­ter as much these days.

Numbers do.

RALPH BARRERA / AMER­I­CAN-STATES­MAN

Of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Tim Beck con­fers with Texas fresh­man quar­ter­back and for­mer West­lake star Sam Eh­linger.

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