Herman defends hiring Beck as Texas OC

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) New Texas coach Tom Herman vigorously defended hiring former Ohio State assistant Tim Beck to be his offensive coordinator on Thursday, saying he was ''surprised'' by some of the social media criticism from Longhorns and Ohio State fans.

Herman said Beck was his primary target as offensive coordinator. The hire was announced this week after Ohio State lost 31-0 to Clemson in the College Football Playoff.

''I was really surprised because it was very well known that Tim Beck didn't call plays at Ohio State,'' Herman said. ''I think the negativity was misplaced on him.''

Beck was co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Buckeyes the past two seasons. Herman was offensive coordinator at Ohio State before becoming head coach at Houston, and he hired Beck after talking to Ohio State coach Urban Meyer and two of his former Buckeyes players, quarterbacks J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones.

''They think the world of him,'' Herman said. ''Tim Beck was extremely successful when he was a play caller at Nebraska ... so chalk that one up to a lot of misinformation on social media. I will never by any of that because we're privy to a lot more information than what `Joe Fan' is.''

Beck will call plays for the Longhorns, Herman said.

Herman takes over a program coming off three losing seasons. He was hired in a 24-hour whirlwind after Texas lost its final game of the season on Nov. 25 and fired Charlie Strong.

The offensive coordinator job is of particular interest and scrutiny for Texas fans. Strong struggled to find the right play-caller, using a combination over three seasons.

Herman has been busy, building his staff and recruiting. He noted the struggles of signing a quality class in a short time. National signing day is Feb. 1.

''We're going to swing for the fences, there's no doubt,'' Herman said. ''As much as we have to sell here ... what we don't have is relationships with a lot of these guys. That makes it very difficult to get in.''

As for evaluating his current players, Herman said he hasn't watched a single snap of the 2016 season and doesn't plan to. Each player will have to earn his way on the field.

''There are no starters. This is a meritocracy,'' Herman said.

Texas hasn't won a Big 12 title since 2009 and has lost at least four games each year since. Herman said he's determined to improve the program across the board, from building an ''army'' of support staff to upgrading facilities.

''We're behind, but not by much: Nothing a multimillion-dollar face lift can't fix,'' he said. ''If Alabama has it, Clemson has it, Ohio State, Michigan have it, we're gonna have it.''


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