KIRK BOHLS: TOM HER­MAN IS NAIL­ING THE DE­TAILS

Coach likes tack­ling things head-on, from start­ing QB to chipped paint.

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - Bohls

While I got ya, here are nine things and one crazy pre­dic­tion: 1. What’s clear from his first three months on the job is Tom Her­man’s in­tense, laser-focused ap­proach and his at­ten­tion to de­tail. He said ev­ery­body in the build­ing ac­cuses him of mak­ing moun­tains out of mole­hills. “I know. I am,” he said, “be­cause if we don’t as a staff, we’re go­ing to look up one day, and we’re go­ing to have a whole bunch of mole­hills. You’ve got to stamp them out as soon as you see them. That’s ex­haust­ing, but the re­wards are un­be­liev­able.” One friend said Her­man was walk­ing around Royal-Memo­rial Sta­dium one day, saw paint that was chip­ping and im­me­di­ately called main­te­nance to in­quire about a new paint job. 2. On the eve of spring train­ing, the first-year Longhorns head coach blasted the de­fen-

sive line’s con­di­tion­ing, spelled out his ex­act timetable for nam­ing a start­ing quar­ter­back and said he’d need to know by sum­mer the sta­tus of tight end re­cruit Reese Leitao, who faces drug charges in Tulsa. He takes on sub­jects head-on. He said he would not name his quar­ter­back by the end of spring train­ing but wanted to pick re­turner Shane Buechele or fresh­man Sam Eh­linger in the first week of fall camp to give the win­ner time to rally his team­mates around him be­fore the sea­son opener against Mary­land. If pos­si­ble, I’d name one by May to jump-start the whole lead­er­ship thing. No one should as­sume Buechele is the au­to­matic starter. Ev­ery starter has to earn his po­si­tion, which is how it should work. 3. Her­man couldn’t stop rav­ing about nickel back P.J. Locke III and out­side line­backer Naashon Hughes and iden­ti­fied both as emerg­ing lead­ers. “P.J. Locke is def­i­nitely the first, and (his are) the only set of par­ents that I’ve called to per­son­ally thank them for send­ing us a mar­velous hu­man be­ing,” the coach said. “It’s been glow­ing re­views for him. I think prob­a­bly the other vo­cal leader that stands out is Naashon. The kids lis­ten to him. I don’t know if he can play foot­ball, but the kids seem to grav­i­tate to­ward him.” 4. Think Mil­wau­kee, Shaka Smart. The Pan­thers should be Ex­hibit A for what Smart would like to see his Texas bas­ket­ball team repli­cate. With an 11-23 record and a last-place con­fer­ence fin­ish, Mil­wau­kee was at­tempt­ing to be­come the worst team ever, record­wise, to qual­ify for the NCAA Tour­na­ment. It lost its last nine games of the regular sea­son but won three straight in the Hori­zon Con­fer­ence Tour­na­ment and played North­ern Ken­tucky on Tues­day night for an NCAA berth. Like­wise, the Longhorns limped home with seven con­sec­u­tive de­feats, lead­ing some cyn­ics to fear long-term in­ep­ti­tude, an opin­ion not shared here. As one Longhorns in­sider told me, “They played hard all year. If they were an NBA team, you wouldn’t ac­cuse them of tank­ing.” 5. The PGA Tour event in Austin has a new name, a very head­line-un­friendly name in World Golf Cham­pi­onships-Dell Tech­nolo­gies Match Play. It re­turns in two weeks and should have a de­cid­edly youth­ful ap­peal, with six of the top 10 in the world golf rank­ings be­ing in their 20s. Twelve of the young­sters have won one of the 2016-17 events on the PGA Tour so far. It should again have an in­ter­na­tional field be­cause 39 of the cur­rent qual­i­fiers are not Amer­i­cans and come from such na­tions as Aus­tria, Italy, the Nether­lands and Thai­land. 6. Austin will ben­e­fit from the afore­men­tioned Dell tour­na­ment, which in 2016 gen­er­ated more than $1 mil­lion for such lo­cal char­i­ties as Austin Parks Foun­da­tion, Boys & Girls Clubs, Help­ing Hand Home for Chil­dren and Keep Austin Beau­ti­ful. The PGA Tour and its tour­na­ments do­nated more than $166 mil­lion to char­ity last year, a Tour spokesman said. 7. For­mer Longhorns foot­ball player Greg Dahlberg, a 65-year-old San An­to­nio den­tist and a won­der­ful per­son­al­ity, died Fri­day. Dahlberg played as a 5-foot10, 220-pound of­fen­sive guard, line­backer and deep snap­per for Dar­rell Royal’s last three South­west Con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship teams from 197173. Dahlberg was such a great ath­lete, he was an all-state line­backer who led the 1969 San An­to­nio Lee team to the state fi­nals in a 14-1 sea­son but also an all-dis­trict catcher as well as a dis­trict champ in the shot put. He al­ways told the story about the time he ran onto the field as deep snap­per for a quick kick that the Ok­la­homa de­fense would block en route to a vic­tory in 1972 and how he heard all the Soon­ers scream­ing, “Quick kick, quick kick.” That was one of the rea­sons Royal even­tu­ally went pub­lic and told me that OU had spied on his foot­ball prac­tices for years. 8. At least one men’s col­lege team can win in bas­ket­ball in Cen­tral Texas. Con­grats to Texas State for its 18-12 sea­son, the first winning sea­son for fourth-year head coach Danny Kas­par af­ter the Bob­cats were picked last in the Sun Belt Con­fer­ence pre­sea­son poll. Texas State got a great year out of se­nior for­ward Kavin Gilder-Til­bury, who av­er­aged al­most 17 points a game and hit 39.5 per­cent of his three-point­ers to be­come the school’s first all-con­fer­ence first­team se­lec­tion in 14 years. It also marked the first winning bas­ket­ball sea­son since Ath­letic Di­rec­tor Larry Teis took over in 2004-05. Teis has over­seen just four winning foot­ball sea­sons in 13 years. Even worse, the Bob­cats were ranked 127th among the 128 Di­vi­sion I foot­ball pro­grams by CBSs­ports.com, ahead of only Fresno State. De­spite a 2-10 record in his first sea­son, Everett Withers had the Sun Belt’s top-rated re­cruit­ing class, with play­ers like three­star cor­ner­back Kieston Roach — who was of­fered by Hous­ton and Pur­due — and brought in for­mer Mis­sis­sippi State backup quar­ter­back Damian Wil­liams. 9. Rented “Moon­light,” which I found very com­pelling and haunt­ing as well. Barry Jenk­ins does a su­perb job of in­cor­po­rat­ing awk­ward, re­veal­ing mo­ments of si­lence be­tween char­ac­ters in his films. This movie just screams so­cial rel­e­vance and touches on so many im­por­tant top­ics, in­clud­ing sin­gle-par­ent house­holds. Have loved Ma­her­shala Ali since I saw him in “House of Cards.” Ash­ton San­ders’ de­pic­tion of this so­cially awk­ward teen was pow­er­ful, and Tre­vante Rhodes shows much prom­ise. Gave it 8 ducks. C razy pre­dic­tion: Texas will blow up its Myers soc­cer and track and field sta­dium and build a 12,000-seat Er­win Cen­ter there.

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