STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
Brian Herman’s not looking at a timeline for how long it will take his players to learn and buy into the Slot-T offense.
The new Marble Falls High School head football coach and boys athletics coordinator, hired in mid-April to replace Mike Birdwell, said he’s looking for a moment.
He recalled such a moment as an offensive coach under Liberty Hill head football coach Jerry Vance, who was a big proponent of the Slot-T, using it up until his retirement in 2017.
In a 2002 game against Caldwell, the Panthers were down 24-8 at the half. At the break, coaches didn’t make any big changes; they just emphasized to their players the importance of playing whistle to whistle.
It worked. In the second half, Liberty Hill took over and won the game 27-24.
While it would take the Panthers until 2006 and 2007 to win state championships, Herman said that victory was the defining moment of the Vance era.
“(The Panthers) realized they could play a superior team, and, with discipline and heart and grit, they could overcome. To me, that was the moment Liberty Hill football was born.”
It’s those “ah-ha” moments, according to Herman, that can change players’ mindsets and make them understand a coach’s philosophy, and the possibilities. Once that happens, he said, a program can go from being good to being great to being — like Liberty Hill today — elite.
“I’m looking for that moment,” he said. “The moment when kids truly understand what could be accomplished.”
In his short time at Marble Falls, Herman has already added three new faces to his coaching staff, including Florence offensive coordinator Heath Hohmann in that same position for the Mustangs.
He and Hohmann worked on Vance’s staff for one season, and Hohmann installed the Slot-T offense at Florence.
The other two hires are Florence head football coach and athletics director Zane Bode as defensive coordinator, and Howe athletics director and head football coach Bill Jehling as special teams coordinator.
Herman also has met with Marble Falls Youth Football and Cheer Association coaches and wants to host a clinic to teach them the high school playbook so they can begin instructing their players on those systems.
The new coach said the best way fans can help the Mustangs is through positivity.
“The big thing is to build the kids up,” he said. “Make them feel like they’re ten feet tall and special because of the things they do. They should feel proud of that, with humility.”
Fall training camp starts August 5 with the first scrimmage at Lampasas on August 16.
The 2019 Mustangs season opens against Fischer Canyon Lake on Friday, August 30, at 7:30 PM at Mustang Stadium, 2101 Mustang Drive in Marble Falls.
“Let’s all rally together and push forward,” Herman said.