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Rice quarterback proves his worth

September 5, 2002

In Division I-A college football, there isn’t a lot of room for a 5-foot-8, 175 pounder to be an impact player as a starting quarterback.

But Rice head coach Ken Hatfield has made room for Kyle Herm.

“You find that champions come in all sizes and shapes,” he said.

“In his case, I never worried about his size from the first time I saw him because he’s such a competitor.”

At Stanton High School, Herm set the Texas Class 2A record with 81 career touchdown passes, while becoming Texas Football’s and Fox Sports Net Southwest’s Class 2A player of the year.

Hatfield’s approach to recruiting Herm appealed to the young quarterback.

“One of the biggest reasons I came here is because they were going to let me play quarterback,” Herm said.

“I’m a small quarterback, and this is about the only offense in the country that looked at me as a quarterback.

“Most schools looked at me as a defensive back or a slot back.”

At the helm of Hatfield’s spread option in 2001, Herm guided the team to a 8-4 record - the best Hatfield has had at Rice.

Herm also led the team in scoring, passing and rushing yards.

He passed for 1,121 yards and eight touchdowns, while rushing for 897 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground.

With Herm’s small frame you would expect him to prefer dropping back to pass, but that’s not the case.

“That’s like my favorite play,” Herm said of the option. “That’s what I’ve been doing the entire time I’ve been down here. That’s our bread and butter, all our option plays.

“As long as that’s clicking, then that opens other parts of the offense.”

Hatfield said he has the mentality and toughness of an option quarterback.

“He has a great poise about him,” he said. “He doesn’t mind taking a lick. He’ll run the football, and he’ll try to get all the yardage he can.”

Nevada head coach Chris Tormey said Herm’s elusiveness makes it tough for opposing teams to stop Rice’s option.

“He has great quickness,” he said. “If you can get a hold of his jersey you have a chance to tackle him. But getting a hand on him is a task. He’s got a lot of experience running the offense.

“He can make a big play if you make a mistake against him.”

But Hatfield said Herm’s success at running the offense starts before the team breaks the huddle.

“The other 10 guys believe in him,” he said. “When he calls a play, they believe its going to work. That leadership attribute is so important for a quarterback to have, and he has that, as well as the skills and tools.

“That’s what makes him an all-around quarterback.”

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