What it takes to play quarterback for Tom Herman

Herman uses chicken and waffles as encouragement (2:11)

Texas head coach Tom Herman joins SportsCenter to share how he's going to return the Longhorns to prominence, starting with a winning breakfast as motivation. (2:11)

Within a matter of days, Texas coach Tom Herman will name a starting quarterback.

He wants one in place two weeks before the Longhorns' season opener against Maryland, and the smart money seems to be on sophomore Shane Buechele over true freshman Sam Ehlinger.

Regardless, the Longhorns faithful hope he can get the kind of production and success out of his next quarterback that he enjoyed from of his previous ones. Based on recent history, the chances of that are good.

Herman's quarterback coaching résumé is extensive and impressive. Since 2005, his first season as an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, his starting quarterbacks are a combined 107-49.

In the past 10 seasons, the average Herman starting quarterback has been responsible for more touchdowns per game (2.2 to 1.8) and more passing yards per game (231.3 to 221.9), a better completion percentage (62 percent to 60 percent) and touchdown-to-interception ratio (2.7 to 1.8) and more rushing yards per game (61.7 to 19.8) than the average FBS starter, according to ESPN Stats and Information research. During any FBS coaching stop he has made in the past 10 years, his starting quarterbacks have improved their Total QBR during his first season with them.

The bottom line is, Herman knows good quarterbacks.

But what does it take to be Herman's quarterback? We asked four of his former signal-callers -- Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett, former Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller, ex-Houston quarterback Greg Ward Jr. and former Rice quarterback Chase Clement -- about their experiences playing for Texas' new head coach. Here's what they said:

Get your body right

After taking his first head-coaching job at Houston, the first thing Herman stressed to Ward was adding bulk. Ward, who is 5-foot-11 and was generously listed on Houston's 2014 roster at 178 pounds, was actually down to 164 pounds in the Cougars' bowl win over Pittsburgh two weeks after Herman was hired.

If he was going to run Herman's preferred offense -- the shotgun spread-option attack that Urban Meyer used -- Ward, with his elite running ability, had to pile on the pounds.

How often did Herman and then-quarterbacks coach/offensive coordinator Major Applewhite (who now is Houston's head coach) bother Ward about his weight?

"Every single day," he said.

They even ordered Ward to take pictures of all of his meals and text the photos to them.

Ward was a special case because of his smaller frame. Not everyone had the weight battle, but that didn't stop Herman from dwelling on proper body care.

Miller, who was Herman's quarterback for two seasons at Ohio State, said Herman incessantly bugged him about the cold tub.

"He always harped on me about getting in the cold tub after practice, before games; I used to hate it," Miller said with a laugh. "I used to hide from him. He would always come in the locker room and ask where I'm at, and I'd be hiding because I didn't want to go in the cold tub."

Be tough

Like many coaches, Herman loves the term "tough."

He speaks frequently about how tough his team needs to be or his desire to have the toughest training camp in the country. For some coaches, it's cliché; for Herman, it's the core of his team's identity.

That doesn't exclude the quarterback.

"When you play quarterback for Coach Herman, you've got to be tough as nails," said Barrett, who started for Herman in 2014. "You get a lot of respect [from] him when you are tough, just because playing quarterback is not an easy job. Sometimes people receive [quarterbacks] as guys who get all the attention and soft guys, wussy dudes, I don't even know. But people don't understand it's tough, not just mentally but also physically."

Barrett cited Miller, Ward and Cardale Jones, who started the three biggest games of Ohio State's 2014 national championship season, as players who met the requirement.

Speak up

When asked after Texas' first training camp practice two weeks ago what Buechele showed him on the first day that signified progress over the summer, Herman's retort was: "That he has a voice." After the team's first scrimmage, Herman expressed excitement at hearing Buechele scream.

In spring, Herman emphasized to Buechele how important it was to be vocal with his teammates, and that's a common thread with his past quarterbacks, as well.

"He wanted me to be more of a vocal leader," Ward said. "He stressed that every single day. Even when I was being vocal, he wanted me to be louder."

Miller said Herman prodded him similarly.

"He brought that up out of me," Miller said. "He taught me how to be a leader."

Prove you can handle chaos

There were times Ward thought Herman might be a little crazy. Those were usually the times Herman was right next to Ward during a live practice, hollering at him pre-snap.

"We would have situations in practice when he'll be right there where I'm lined up, right there in my ear, yelling at me while I'm trying to direct the receivers or deal with cadence or anything else," Ward said.

How loudly?

"I mean, he would be screaming at the top of his lungs. He'd be hoarse from doing it."

That was one method Herman used to create chaos and attempt to simulate the distractions his quarterback would have to block out on game day.

"He wasn't doing it to be a pain in the ass or anything; he was doing it to register in your head so that when it was time to react during game time, it'll be natural," Ward said.

Like many other coaches, Herman tried to make practices difficult on his quarterback during live sessions. That meant trying to puzzle them as much as possible.

"He would talk to the defensive coordinator and have them bring different types of blitzes and coverages that we didn't go over in the meeting room that he knew I needed to work on," Miller said. "That was kind of confusing on my end, so it created chaos for me."

Learn to take a joke

As serious as Herman is about success, it's not all work, no play. Several of his former quarterbacks noted Herman tried to keep things lighthearted in the quarterback meeting room before film sessions.

"We always had fun," said Clement, who played for Herman at Rice in 2007 and 2008. "I remember we came into the office, the quarterback room, we'd throw up YouTube videos and just had a good time. We always started off with a laugh."

Miller said the first few minutes of every position meeting started with a discussion about life.

"First, we don't talk about football when you come in the meeting room," he said. "You open up with a joke, how was our day, how was school, what did we do the night before. We talked about the day or the night before for five or 10 minutes before we talk about football."

And because of that environment, Miller thinks it contributed to Ohio State's success in 2014, which resulted in a national championship, despite injuries to the top two quarterbacks on the depth chart.

"It's not so uptight," Miller said. "You can be yourself around him, and he's always talking about things outside of football too, to make you more comfortable. He cares about you and he shows it."

Compete, compete, compete

The must-have attribute Herman seeks is something coaches everywhere preach.

"We certainly look at athletic ability, football IQ, arm strength, and all the intangibles everyone evaluates," Herman said, "but the No. 1 trait our quarterback has to have is competitiveness. To be successful in our program, it has to be really, really important that you'll scratch, claw and do everything it takes to win in everything you do. You have to be the ultimate competitor."

It's a big reason why Herman, during his time at Houston and now at Texas, has used a reward-and-consequence system, such as serving chicken and waffles to team members who won a practice competition and watery powdered eggs and burnt sausage to the losers. It plays into his desire for his athletes to feel like "the sky is falling" when they lose.

"I think that that's something, as a coach, you've got to harp on that and preach on that, because it's in the little things, right?" Clement said. "I think he realizes that in those details ... it's those little things that constantly tell you, 'I've got to win, I've got to win.'"