WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.: Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman is a member of Mensa. But when it comes to calculating the right time for he and his wife to have a baby, he’s 1-for-3.
That’s an unacceptable percentage in any other part of his football life, except perhaps for fourth-down conversions.
Herman found out firsthand the strength of Ohio State coach Urban Meyer’s commitment to family last week, when Herman and wife Michelle welcomed their third child, Maverick Joseph, on Thursday.
OSU has an open date on Saturday and the Hermans’ baby was supposed to be induced on Tuesday. Unless there were complications, Michelle knew her husband was making the trip to Purdue.
“But Wednesday night he decided he was not waiting, he wanted to come out and watch the game,” Herman said of the son who already has a mind of his own.
Herman was up all night Wednesday with Michelle, then stopped by OSU on Thursday hoping to squeeze in some work only to get word the birth was imminent.
“It was not an oops; it was not an accident. We were trying to have another one, but we didn’t realize it would happen so quickly after we had made the decision to try,” Herman said. “Obviously that put the due date at a really inopportune time.”
This is not the first time a Herman child has arrived after football practice has begun. The Hermans’ son Maddock, nicknamed T.D. because his middle names are Thomas Danger, was due on Aug. 8 when Herman was working elsewhere.
“That was right during two-a-days so we induced him on July 31,” Herman said.
Apparently there were no such issues with daughter Priya because Herman was on such a roll after Ohio State’s 56-0 victory over Purdue Saturday at Ross-Ade Stadium that he would have mentioned it.
He estimated he slept a total of four or five hours in two days before getting a solid seven in the team hotel Friday night. The 38-year-old whom Meyer has called “one of the bright young minds in college football” seemed to operate fine when groggy as OSU rolled up 640 total yards against the Boilermakers. That came on the heels of a 686-yard performance the previous week against Penn State.
“Adrenalin works wonders sometimes,” Herman said.
Herman might have worried how Meyer would handle the change in the baby plan. Meyer didn’t know Herman when he hired the former Iowa State offensive coordinator, reportedly relying on strong references from Chip Kelly and Mack Brown. That trepidation manifested itself when Herman showed up at the Woody Hayes Athletic Complex hours before Maverick was born.
“He actually came in for seven minutes. I really was going to put a form letter on his desk about being docked a day’s pay,” Meyer joked. “I thought it would be best interest not to do that. Maverick is a future Buckeye and he’s welcomed, a great part of our family now.”
This was not the uber-focused and demanding Meyer who doesn’t hesitate to criticize star players in postgame news conferences. Herman realized he was lucky Meyer understood his dilemma.
“I’m in a good place. My family’s extremely happy. We coach at the best place to coach at in the entire country. We live in a great city. We work for a guy who’s unbelievably understanding of families. It’s been great,” Herman said.
Some might question Herman’s choice of names for his children more than any play he’s called for the Buckeyes, 21-0 under Meyer. But to Herman the latest one makes perfect sense, even if part of his affinity comes from the character Tom Cruise played in Top Gun.
“The translation of the word is someone who doesn’t conform to society, someone who blazes their own trail. I want to make sure my son has a nice strong name that means something,” Herman said. “And one of the best characters in movies of all time.”
Marla Ridenour can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the her blog at http://www.ohio.com/marla. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MRidenourABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sports.abj.