Hi! How are you doing? Hope things are well down in Houston. Looks like it's gonna be a hot few days this week down in the 713. Hope you're keeping cool down there, coach!
Family good? How is the Mrs. liking life down in Texas? I bet Priya loves the fall down there more than in Columbus! And TD and Maverick were probably made for the Lone Star State.
Anyway, enough small talk. Would you mind coming back to coach at Ohio State?
I know why you wouldn't want to. I know you're really happy being part of your own destiny, and running a program. This is something you've been wanting to do for oh, so long. I get it. It would be so hard to give that up and take what would basically be a demotion. But hear me out...
I know what you're building at Houston, and so far it's great! A 4-0 start and a rollicking good offense, with a win over a good Louisville team (even one that can't beat anyone else). SB Nation's Bill C. likes you guys a lot, too. 10-2 is the expected record, with one of those losses a virtual toss up against Vanderbilt. But with the way things are going, Coach, you'll probably win that one, and the other projected loss, too, Thanksgiving weekend against Navy. What a first year you have started.
The biggest problem you have going for you right now, Coach, is that you might need to pick a new placekicker. What a tough, tough issue to have. And if the PK duties don't take up too much of your time, you can always go back to kicking boosters to the cheap seats, and putting Houston's "Slobs" in first class.
But seriously, Coach Herman. Let's get to brass tacks.
Your former team is undefeated, still ranked No. 1 in the polls that matter (even though none of them matter until the Playoff rankings drop in a few weeks), but struggling mightily to find itself. Maybe not on defense, where Joey Bosa, Eli Apple, Darron Lee and others are one of the conference's best units. But the offense needs an identity change in a hurry. And you're just the man to do it.
But seriously, Coach Herman. Let's get to brass tacks.
Go back a year and look at what you had. J.T. Barrett was leading the conference and the world, filling in for a QB who used to do the same thing. The receiving corps was a bit deeper with Devin Smith and Evan Spencer providing highlight catches and film-room-perfect blocking, respectively. And Ezekiel Elliott was finding another gear that would elevate him to "national brand" status. Your coaching helped the Buckeyes stay alive against Penn State on the road, and crush Michigan State in East Lansing, and beating their little brother at home after Thanksgiving.
And then Cardale Jones. And then the Big Ten Championship. And then the Sugar Bowl. And then the National Championship. The memories are fading a bit, but still fresh enough, and still as wonderful as ever.
If you come back, admittedly, you won't have as stocked a cupboard. Sure, you'll still have a premiere running back in reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week Elliott, but you lose the playmaking at receiver with Smith and Spencer gone. But Michael Thomas and Jalin Marshall are still dangerous. And you have Miller to use literally wherever you want on the field. Want him at tight end? Give it a try! Have him platoon with Pat Elflein at guard? THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS.
Your decision at quarterback, however, might be a bit difficult, though. Cardale Jones might have been the darling of the end of last year, but let's be honest: he's struggled with consistency. It seems like all anyone can talk about with Jones is a combination of Ronda Rousey jokes, and decision making (maybe not totally mutually exclusive, to be honest). Since the Virginia Tech game, Jones has looked pedestrian, and if the locals aren't clamoring for his head, they're apologizing for him, and telling you how much better he's looking with some of his play. Even with Barrett as the backup (who, in mop-up duty, hasn't exactly looked better), nothing has come easy under and/or behind center so far.
And that's where you come in, Coach. You've proven your ability to wrangle this offense. Hell, you've been taking care of great offenses your entire coaching career. But what's going on back home at Ohio State might be your most difficult task yet. Ohio State's offense lacks an identity (although Elliott is starting to assert himself firmly as the Buckeyes' go-to) and you're just the person who can provide that.
And let's be honest: you've never going to get into the playoff at Houston. I know, it's hard to hear, but it's probably true. Even if you go undefeated, even if you turn 1,000 heads doing it, there will be scores of teams ahead of you with spots already reserved. Houston, for you, is a stepping stone gig - I'm sure your new bosses knew that when they hired you. And there might be a few gigs opening up in short order. Some pretty close to where you are now. So if that's your next move, I can't fault you for that. But those are rebuilding gigs, Coach. This isn't.
If you decide to stay your own course, that's fine. I totally get it, and so will the rest of Buckeye Nation. As all fan bases know, rebuilding, reloading and repeating is hard to do. And even so, Ohio State is a four touchdown favorite against a dreadful Maryland team (speaking of jobs that might be open soon), and still the odds on favorite to win it all, again, this year, per the hotel builders in the Nevada desert.
And it's not like this Ohio State team hasn't been getting better. Northern Illinois was a shot in the arm, for sure, but really wasn't ever in any doubt. And Western Michigan wasn't even a close game. And if you get rid of the Vaseline that Jalin Marshall insists on putting on his hands, then the Indiana game wouldn't have been that close, either. In fact, given the wealth of talent, its almost comendable that Ed Warinner and company have been able to do what they've done so far this year. Not every game is going to feature Elliott running for 55-, 65-, and 75-yard scores. But not every game will feature an undefeated and hungry Indiana team either. Ohio State has built on success every week since Northern Illinois; there's nothing there to indicate that trend is going in a different decision.
So, Coach, you have some decisions to make. If you want, I'm sure you'd be welcomed back to Columbus with open arms. Your MensaMind could make quick work of every problem in your way, and return the Buckeyes back to the form that won them a national championship. We'd love to have you, for sure. But if the only decision you want to make is about your placekicker, then I can understand that, too.
All the best,