Traveling via plane or bus in seats designed with the average sized human in mind can be quite uncomfortable for offensive and defensive lineman, regardless of whether we're talking about the FBS or NAIA level.
Before Tom Herman arrived at Houston, boosters used to travel on the team plane and occupy the first class section, while the big fellas squeezed into seats in coach. But that kind of stuff doesn't fly (no pun intended) under Herman, as sideline reporter Niki Noto Palmer pointed in in her recent blog post where she traveled with the team for their game at Louisville.
Herman has been very vocal the big fellas getting things done in the trenches will be the driving force behind his team. And for that reason alone he, his coaches, his players and so on will treat them like first class. The offensive and defensive linemen are first in line before others no matter what they’re doing [eating] or where they’re going [away games].
In fact up until Coach Herman took the reigns, Houston boosters occupied first class seats when the Cougars traveled to away games. Not anymore. Louisville marked the first game where it all changed. Coach calls his linemen “gladiators” because they literally bleed on the line week after week. In football nobody gets pounded harder than the front 5. He said if he wants to treat them like first class, he wants to give them first class. He wants to make sure they’re comfortable and taken care of because they take care of us on gamedays.
Surely, that was an unpopular decision among boosters who enjoyed the comfort and access on the team plane on game day, but Herman "candidly conveyed he didn't care because they deserve it. And they're the ones who help us win football games."
Read the full piece from Niki Noto Palmer on her All Access trip with Tom Herman and the team last weekend here.