Graham Harrell

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Graham Harrell: Will he be Eagles new offensive coordinator?

Eliot Shorr-Parks
January 18, 2020 - 8:00 am
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The Eagles search for a new offensive coordinator has been somewhat slow, with just one known interview so far. 

That number, however, is now at two. 

According to Philly.com, the Eagles will be interviewing USC offensive coordinator Graham Harrell, a very intriguing and interesting decision by the team. 

Harrell, just 34-years old, has a good mixture of experience in both the NFL and the college game, with an interesting background in a few different offenses.

The former quarterback played his college football at Texas Tech, where he finished his career with the second-most career passing yards in NCAA history (15,793). He briefly played for the Green Bay Packers in 2012, appearing in just four games. 

Harrell began his coaching career as the quarterback coach at Oklahoma State. He then moved to a receivers coach for Mike Leach, who ran an air-raid offense at Washington State, before being hired by North Texas as their offensive coordinator. He was hired by USC at the beginning of 2019 and has spent just one season as their offensive coordinator. 

Here is a look at some of his coaching accomplishments, according to his official bio on USC’s website

He served the past 3 seasons (2016-18) as North Texas’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.  After inheriting an offense that ranked in the nation’s bottom 25 in scoring, passing and total offense in 2015, he helped the Mean Green improve statistically in each category in 2016, including by 9.6 points per game.  Then in 2017, North Texas was 19th nationally in scoring (35.5), 21st in passing (291.9) and 24th in total offense (455.1), and quarterback Mason Fine set school season records for passing yards (4,052) and TDs (31).  In 2018, UNT ranked 12th in passing (306.8), 20th in total offense (460.5) and 26th in scoring (34.6), with Fine throwing for 3,793 yards and 27 touchdowns with just 5 interceptions, wide receiver Rico Bussey Jr. catching 68 passes for 1,017 yards with 12 TDs and running back DeAndre Torrey scoring 15 TDs on the ground.  Fine was the 2017 and 2018 Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year, while Bussey Jr. was an All-Conference USA first teamer in 2018.  North Texas also rushed for more than 150 yards a game in both 2017 and 2018.  UNT won 9 games each of the Harrell’s last 2 seasons and qualified for bowl games each year that he was on staff (2016 Heart of Dallas, 2017 New Orleans, 2018 New Mexico) after having only played in one bowl the previous 11 seasons.

Graham would be an intriguing hire for a number of reasons. 

To start, he is a former quarterback, a criteria the Eagles clearly value among their top-level coaches on offense. Doug Pederson, Frank Reich, John DeFilippo, Mike Groh — all have a quarterback background.

What makes Harrell so interesting is his time in the air-raid offense. The offense, known for down-the-field throws and plenty of passing, would be an interesting wrinkle in the Eagles’ current offense. It is certainly a different style of offense from what Pederson has run, and a hire of Harrell would definitely check the “fresh set of eyes and new ideas” box many want in a new offensive coordinator. 

Whether they hire Harrell remains to be seen. The fact he won’t be able to call plays, which he can at USC right now, could cause him to pass on the job. 

The fact they are looking at the college game, however, is a sign that they seem to want to go with a young, up-and-coming coach, as opposed to a retread, veteran.

You can reach Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at esp@94wip.com!

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