Tom Herman is burning the candle at both ends these days, but he wouldn't have it any other way.

Tom Herman is burning the candle at both ends these days, but he wouldn't have it any other way.

The Ohio State offensive coordinator also is the incoming head coach at the University of Houston. With the Buckeyes in the College Football Playoff championship game and Herman needing to hire a coaching staff, both are full-time jobs.

"I'm good, I'm great," Herman said with a smile right after the Sugar Bowl victory over Alabama.

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While game-planning for Oregon, Herman also is trying to fulfill his Houston responsibilities.

"The light at the (end of the) tunnel certainly is a lot closer now so that we've got to ramp up some stuff as far as getting a staff hired and getting feet on the ground, so to speak," he said.

The calendar helps Herman a bit. The NCAA's dead period for recruiting players extends to Jan. 15. Houston's second semester doesn't begin until Jan. 20. Herman said when he was hired that he hoped to retain Houston defensive coordinator David Gibbs, but Gibbs resigned yesterday and is expected to be hired by Texas Tech.

Herman hired four assistant coaches yesterday, including one former Ohio State graduate assistant, Drew Mehringer, as receivers coach.

It has been a whirlwind season for Herman. He spoke of how unlikely it was that an OSU team that lost to Virginia Tech would win 12 straight to reach the national title game.

"It speaks volumes for how good a guys these guys are," Herman said. "I know a lot of teams preach brotherhood, they preach trust, they preach playing for each other. I've never been around a team that lives it like this team does."

He said he will use that example with the Cougars.

"I'll tell them how selfless they were and how they never stopped believing in each other and never stopped believing in the plan and the process," Herman said.

Herman said he intends to go directly to Houston after the championship game in suburban Dallas.

Uniforms unveiled

Nike unveiled the uniforms for Monday's game, and Ohio State will wear scarlet tops while Oregon will go with white.

Ohio State's uniform will have black numbers above the shoulder pads, evoking memories of the 1968 national championship team. Oregon's uniforms usually contain green, but the Ducks will use gray for the lettering and numbers and on their helmet decal.

Smith to Senior Bowl

Ohio State receiver Devin Smith's strong play late this season has earned him a spot in the Senior Bowl, the top all-star game for NFL prospects. Smith earlier accepted a spot in the less prestigious East-West Shrine Game.

Smith is averaging 27.7 yards a catch this season and has 12 touchdowns.

Smith joins tight end Jeff Heuerman, defensive tackle Michael Bennett and cornerback Doran Grant at the Senior Bowl, which will be played on Jan. 25 in Mobile, Ala.

brabinowitz@dispatch.com

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