Tom Herman made perhaps his most important hire in Tim Beck on Tuesday. The former Nebraska and, most recently, Ohio State offensive coordinator heads south to Austin. So what does it all mean for the offense on the forty acres? Get ready to run.
Beck cut his teeth in the midwest as a GA at Kansas State and a coordinator at FCS Missouri State. He then upgraded and got the hell to Texas where he coached at R.L. Turner and Mansfield Summit in the Metroplex. Those jobs landed Beck in Kansas as receivers coach for the Mark Mangino regime. When we look back a great coaching jobs, never forget what Mangino did at Kansas, as in, winning a share of the Big 12 North, winning a BCS bowl and finishing 12-1. That’s landing on the moon with a sling shot.
Beck finally got a shot, coordinating an FBS offense under Bo Pelini at Nebraska. That lasted until Nebraska got rid of Pelini, after a 9-3 season. Nebraska won 9 games this year. They firing Mike Riley? Regardless, Beck, jumped to the arms of Urban Meyer in 2015, where he became Co-OC in 2015.
What you can expect from Beck is a downhill, physical, run game. Tim Beck’s offenses have never finished outside the top 20 in rushing offense. That’s why Pelini elevated Beck and why Meyer brought him in, to pummel people. Sure he does it out of a spread look, but Ohio State (which according to Meyer leads the nation in power run stances every year) knew they could recruit and develop mammoth offensive lineman. The same with Nebraska. At Texas, Beck will have a similar, perhaps better talent pool to draw from, endless supplies of mauler offensive lineman and great backs. We get sort of bummed out thinking what D’Onta Foreman would have done in this offense. Probably would have been worth a Heisman invite.
You want to attack through the air? Beck may not be your man. His passing offenses have never finished better than 82nd. It’s worth noting that Beck’s never worked with as pure a passer as Shane Buechele, even at Ohio State. For three seasons at Nebraska he trotted Taylor Martinez out to take snaps. Did you ever see Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez throw a football? Imagine a man with a broken arm heaving a ball around with said broken arm.
At Ohio State, we’ve seen recently how J.T. Barrett struggled to stretch defenses through the air. When opposing defenses were up to stopping the Buckeyes run game, Ohio State couldn't switch gears and keep them honest through the air.(See the Michigan and Clemson games.) Now it's important to note that Ohio State only saw one or two teams a year that could stifle their rushing attack, otherwise they went with plan A.
We’ll find out quickly if the passing issues Beck’s offenses have had are due to quarterback talent or scheme. Buechele showed in 2016, as a true freshman, that he's special.
It’s important to note that Herman’s 13-1 Houston squad was a very good running team. His 2016 team struggled as the running game struggled. His 2015 team finished 13th in rushing offense, his 2016 squad fell to 99th.
You don’t hire offensive coordinators without understanding what you’re wanting and what they're bringing. Well, unless you're Charlie Strong. Herman didn’t make this hire by throwing darts. He’s building his machine and it will be a physical one.