Will Graham Harrell Scare Off Defensive Coordinators?

Here’s a factor that some might not understand regarding the hiring of a new defensive coordinator.

Here is what I heard from a Pac-12 defensive coordinator:

“Graham Harrell doesn’t play complementary football. I wouldn’t take that job unless he changed some things.”

What is complementary football?

It means the offense takes the defense into consideration instead of just piling up passing stats. For example, you need to run the football sometimes to give your defense a break.

There are many other examples but it doesn’t seem like Harrell really cares about anything than passing. That’s fine but some people notice, like defensive coordinators.

45 thoughts on “Will Graham Harrell Scare Off Defensive Coordinators?

  1. I don’t get the recruiting dilemma that USC football is in. What exactly is the strategy? It should be made easier given Pender gasket’s propensity to NOT recruit. His laziness, in a weird way should dictate the recruiting strategy: If you have a staff that doesn’t like to go out and recruit yet resides in a fertile recruiting area like SoCal, hit this area hard and focus primarily on locals. I don’t understand these scholarship offers to WRs, Dbs, and LBs not from CA. The only positions that USC should really be recruiting from outside the area is DT and if they are going to be recruiting these other positions, they need to be better than the local players.


    Liked by 2 people

  2. I think Harrell wanted to ratched up the stats to prove his system works and get the players integrated. He also had no choice with injures running backs for a part of thr season. He will have to run the ball more to get the offense to the next level.


    1. As Pirate Robert says in The Princess Bride, “Just because it’s never happened before doesn’t mean we can’t do it…”

      Liked by 2 people

      1. As we’ve discussed many times – if you run an offense that incorporates some of the principles, fine and good…but if you just chuck’n’duck and heave’ho insensibly…

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Yes, James —
        Message to Harrell: Adapt or die (figuratively speaking)….
        P. S.
        What in the hell is holding up the announcement of the new D-Coordinator?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Don’t know…as said in other comment to you, I’m busy glorifying in Herm making the Worm Turn…what a day for the Devils! While Hyksos sit on our throne…Go Nubians! or whatever the proper h(i/y)st(o/e)rival reference would be!

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Herm is on his way to messing up everything for the old front runners, [including, unfortunately, USC]….

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Herm, Marvin Lewis, and now Gill and Hawkins…look back at their results from last year…not far from 11 wins…now the top California haul in recruiting…what would they do with the keys at USC?

        Liked by 1 person

      6. The day Herm was announced a USC friend of mine scoffed at his chances. I told him Trojans would live to rue the day that Arizona State’s Athletic Director decided to go with Coach Edwards. Young people love Herm’s honesty and old fashioned work ethic…..
        Did you see him at the official announcement when somebody said “go devils!” and Herm said “no, no —not devils –we’re not devils”? You gotta love this guy!

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Did you watch that clip I posted for you of his post-game remarks after the Sun Bowl? To paraphrase Pressfield’s description of Leonidas in “Gates of Fire” – That’s a real football coach…and as we apparently seem to see the same on, the kids see it…and what are they doing in the general sense? Selling opportunity…selling the NFL…just like USC did for years…and should be doing again…but the kids see through the sham now…it will take a major reclamation to fix the damage that’s been done…so in the meantime, the southern desert country cousins (aka our Kingdom of Kush…hey, that works rather nicely doesn’t it?) will suffice…

        Liked by 1 person

      8. One last thought, James —
        Herm is everything Helton is not. Herm will always tell you EXACTLY what’s on his mind –Helton always gives you a canned slice of bullshit. Helton, in spite of all his empty lip service, only loves himself. Herm REALLY does love his kids. I’ve watched Arizona State practices and Herm will interrupt practice to show a corner what he’s doing wrong —and he’ll do it in the most caring, fatherly way. It’s actually touching how much he cares.
        When I watch Coach Edwards talking to ESPN after games it makes me sick that we’re stuck with Helton.

        Liked by 2 people

      9. Could not agree more my friend…no reason we don’t have a coach of equal or actually better coaching ability with a reasonable percentage of that character (I’m wasting keystrokes…we used to call it “Pete” and should now be calling it “Urban”)…I’m happy for him and those kids and I will gladly enjoy watching them while waiting for our program to get unf’d…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The DC FREEMAN from cincanatti will be offered the job if he doesn’t take it mcyintire from ol miss will have it if he wants it.if not maybe steve lopes it tesserlone can probably hire a family member…….🤫 Don’t worry lopes your secrets will come out very soon and you also tesserlone.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. That bullshit offense that Mike Leach, and Graham Harrell run has never won a championship, and it never will. USC has the resources to run any type of offense they want, but Clay Helton rather emulate Leach, as oppose to Nick Saban? You may not win national championships with Student body right or left, but you sure the hell better be able to run the ball .

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Harrell does like to run the ball and SC did even sometimes effectively when they had more than 1 back available. The problem this year was that the offense had to back up the D because the defense could not consistently stop teams. I would think a defensive cord. would love to have this offense getting some points for them.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Barry:
      Are you telling me you would keep this offense–the #9 (S+P) or #13 (FPI) offense in Division 1 college football? An offense that competed against 6 defenses in the FPI top 18 in 2019 (Utah, Wash, Cal, Ore, ND, Iowa)?
      Crazy, dude. Just crazy, Barry.

      You obviously are not reading (or understanding) all the posts from the Football wizards on this site.


      1. Oh boy… There is in football a key difference between offense and defense in controlling a game. The offense can control the game by it’s approach: how long it takes to run a play, what the mix of plays are designed for long sustained drives or explosive plays, whether to play for field position or gamble for whether it is a run or pass, whether it is shorter high conversion or longer passes, whether the offense is going to use a physical game to grind down an opponent (the offensive line and offensive players expend less energy during each play since reacting is physically more taxing).

        Any DC can usually hold up at some point of the game for a quarter or half if his D is rested. Of 70 average plays split in a game the variations are big, and the OCs really decide.

        The less time a defense is on the field the better it is. The more time it has to rest between drives the better it is. The less plays the more it can gamble– aggressive defense has increased risk and diminishing returns the more plays that are ran.

        So a DC is at the mercy of his offensive coordinator and play caller. A good OC and play caller can make a mediocre DC look great or he can throw him to the wolves.

        Final bit on different approaches by talent:

        A team that can access the best talent leans on the other team, they have more ways to throw a punch from the same players– the TE, the RB and FB backs, the WRs can block and run and catch, and optimally the QB might be able to do some of that too (even if the running is rolling out). The QB under center in downs that could be passing or running, or closer to the goal line (about 20-30% of plays) gets to disguise and delay the defense’s chance at a read on play action also wearing out defenses; that’s even more so when on those downs there is a two back set thus and extra blocker making successful and consistent running for sustained drives. If you don’t have that talent, you play Harrell or Helton ball, to even the odds, and hope to pull off a win in a shoot out, beating teams with far inferior talent but losing most others.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t think you understand football, all respect. A 38 / 31 split in football is a big difference in football. Further, injuries have different reasons but for the backfield, the less blockers the more the the hits and injuries as a general rule, any coach will tell you that.


      2. Here’s my understanding of college football, GC…
        Big strong fast athletes go to any school in which they will play early and often. With 85 player scholarship limits and uber-liberal trasfer policies, no school can stock up on the talent, redshirt ’em “while they develop,” and then play ’em their Jr/Sr year. After your 3rd yr (rsSo, Jr) to can elect a free–non binding evaluation of your draft status and decide to stay or go.
        At best, you have 3 years to develop and play that talent before they are gone forever

        Gone are the days that someone dreams of going to Tailback U just because they watched Marcus Allen or Reggie Bush play on TV. Gone are the days that a big strong O-lineman goes to O-line U because they watched Bruce Mathews or Ryan/Matt Kalil play on TV. Gone are the days that a fast, brutal LB goes to LB U because he watched Junior Seau or Rey Mauluga. Kids go to schools where they will be developed, will play, and might get a chance to earn money from football.

        No. USC does not recruit itself. Those days ended over a decade ago.

        Analytically, an 8yd pass play with an 80% completion rate (thus a 6.4 yd gain on average) is far more likely to be successful, and far less injurious than hoping for a 6.4 yard gain 100% of the time running the ball. Real math.

        With a minimum of 7 (and often 8) men in the box, you will not gain 6.4 yards reliably on the ground. If Nick (Mr Power Football) Saban understands this, then you and I need to understand this.

        The fact of the matter is that you cannot reliably run the ball 60 times a game against the big fast linebackers of today and expect to win 12 times out of 12. Might work for Army/Navy/Air Force but won’t work in the Power 5.


  6. If Harrell’s offense put a ton of points on the board that would be one thing…..at least a defense up by 21 could kinda get a blow…….instead his shitty offense against better defenses scores in the 20’s or below……with the best receivers in college football.
    So we extend this North Texan………giving Helton another small defense…..it costs to get rid of Harrell.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Absolutely fucking correct. Wolf has always read the blog and has deleted my posts many times. He has claimed for years he never read the blog posts. Bullshit!


  8. I recall 2- to 3-minute drives during the Carroll glory years. Those teams were known for scoring quickly, whether they ran or passed. The defense seemed to be able to handle that just fine.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I check run/pass ratio for the first 7 games of USC and Alabama. USC – 228/238; Alabama – 229/230. Not much difference. After 7 games things did change (maybe they had to, as noted by B. Fisher), but the bowl game’s 18 rush attempts was anomalous even if compared to any of the last 5 games.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. RIckB:
        You have a high football IQ, do good research, and offer carefully scripted (and succint) analysis. You also use “nice” adjectives and adverbs, punctuate properly, and don’t include vulgar language in your prose.

        You do not belong on this site and are hereafter banished.


    2. Because they went on the attack with the intention of getting right back off the field (at least most years…maybe not 2005 when they were in rebuild)…and they faced tougher competition in practice than in the games…

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Air raid scored 24 points against Iowa. I don’t care if Iowa had a good defense. You can’t expect the defense to keep the opposing team from scoring over 24 points in college football in order to win. NFL level yes but not in college. If the score was close I would blame Clancy but it wasn’t close. Air raid sucks balls.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. FF:
      From my 50 yard line seat, row 14 at Jack Murphy stadium, I saw OC GH’s offense roll up 288 yards and 24 points in the first 31.5 minutes of the Holiday Bowl. The Trojans scored 4 of the first 5 times that they possessed the football.

      Kirk Ferentz has been coaching at Iowa 21 years. He knew that if he committed to stop the run game, he would come up with an INT sometime in the game and win. He kept his LB’s close to the LOS, blitzed a ton on short yardage situations, and was not going to allow GH to run the ball under any circumstances. Our O-line was NEVER going to control the LOS in San Diego.

      Iowa was the #12 rated defense in CFB prior to the Holiday Bowl, and our lads put up 300 yards and 24 points in “half a game.”

      It was more frustrating to see CP’s defense allow a 3rd down and 19 yard conversion…with ultimately a TD being scored shortly after that conversion. In the first half, the defense failed to get a single stop.
      In FACT, the defense did not get it’s first stop until THERE WAS ONE MINUTE LEFT IN THE 3rd quarter.


  10. this seven-on-seven offense was helton’s one idea. his one, bright, shiny idea of how to elevate usc’s play on the field. … he should have been fired just for that.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This is a two way street. If the defense forces a three and out situation, the offense needs to get back on field and move the ball. Complementary means both sides of ball does their job well. Defense should not be on the field for more than 8 plays. Offenses no more than 12 plays.
    I guess if you are going concoct a explanation for not getting the coach this is pretty convenient.


  12. Holy shit! Flow! You’re deleting comments at an unprecedented rate! Keep up the good work, you complete hack of a “journalist.”


  13. True, but shut up and play defense sir. Someone else will worry about the offense while you should be minding the buisness with the defense.

    Liked by 1 person

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