Tom Herman began his career in the media, but after spending more than two decades on the sidelines, he made a short-lived return to the industry. Herman worked a handful of games this past season for CBS Sports Network’s college football coverage, most of which were Mountain West games with Carter Blackburn.
It was then that he realized how much he missed college football. And that this broadcasting thing wasn’t nearly as easy as riding a bike. Naturally, he took the coaching to broadcasting back to coaching route, which has been followed by many before Herman, and will be followed by many after him.
Herman—now the head coach at Florida Atlantic University— touched on the learning curve during a recent appearance on ESPN’s College GameDay podcast with Rece Davis and Pete Thamel.
“It was much harder than I thought,” said Herman. “It gave me a newfound appreciation for what those guys do. No offense to Rece on the call, I think the color guys have a little bit more on their plate maybe.”
While Herman has prepared for coaching games in the past, there are a lot more intricate details that go into a broadcaster’s preparation. When studying film, you might not be aware of what type of injuries or adversity any given player is dealing with, as well as just general background information.
“It was really, really hard to try to really get to know two teams, both sides of the ball. The right guard is coming off two straight ACL surgeries or whatever,” Herman said. “To just have that kind of breadth and depth of your knowledge of each team to feel like you were prepared. It was a bit daunting, to be honest with you.”
Herman also says he never knew what level of football knowledge the audience he was talking to had. He didn’t realize he would have to explain what a Cover 2 defense was to the average football fan, perhaps showing his inexperience in broadcasting.
“You have a new appreciation for the ones that do it well and educate America on our great game, the way that us as coaches would,” he said. “Once you’ve sat in that chair, you’ve got a ton of newfound respect for those guys.”
Maybe a career in broadcasting will be in Herman’s future, but his immediate plans involve coaching football in Boca Raton.
[College GameDay, Barrett Sports Media; photo from Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports]