North Texas Daily

Column: Major changes coming for North Texas?

Column: Major changes coming for North Texas?

Column: Major changes coming for North Texas?
February 05
16:16 2019

Earlier last week, it was announced that North Texas’ offensive coordinator Graham Harrell had accepted the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach job at Southern California. Harrell is replacing Kliff Kingsbury, who left Southern California after accepting the head coaching position with the Arizona Cardinals.

A report from ESPN said that Harrell interviewed for other openings as well. The Oklahoma State Cowboys and North Carolina Tar Heels were interested in bringing Harrell on board, but both of those openings filled. The Southern California job is arguably one of the biggest and brightest stages in the country to coach on.

Harrell was a quarterback at Tech who played under famed coach Mike Leach and his Air-Raid offense that has swept through college football and has begun to make noise in the NFL. Harrell implemented the Air-Raid and it allowed North Texas quarterback Mason Fine to flourish. Fine posted nearly 3,800 yards, 27 touchdowns and only five interceptions this season.

Where do the Mean Green turn to replace Harrell? There are several options on the table — hire from within or go after a successful coordinator who recently got fired from his job.

Major Applewhite would be the dream hire for the Mean Green. Applewhite was fired as the head coach of the Houston Cougars and is looking for a new team. North Texas and Applewhite would be a great fit for each other.  Applewhite succeeded the current Texas coach Tom Herman who went 22-4 at Houston before leaving. Applewhite went 15-11 over two seasons as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks’ coach and could come in and immediately help Mason Fine and keep this Mean Green offense rolling.

North Texas could also look at hiring from within the program. Joel Filani is the wide receivers’ coach, and he could be looked at to replace Harrell. Filani helped lead a group led by Rico Bussey Jr. and Jaelon Darden.  Bussey Jr. was a semi-finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, the highest recognition for a wide receiver. Filani helped the wideouts elevate their game to new heights, so Filani could possibly help lead the entire offense.

Another in house candidate is offensive line coach Chuck Langston. Langston has been on the Mean Green staff since 2017 and previously served as an offensive coordinator at Lamar.

Harrell’s departure could also hint that head coach Seth Littrell could be the next to go. Littrell nearly took the opening at Kansas State, but when reports surfaced that the Wildcats would not allow Littrell to bring his staff with him to Manhattan, Littrell stayed in Denton. I believe that Littrell will leave Denton and the Mean Green after this season when his star quarterback Mason Fine graduates and possibly enters the NFL draft.

All in all, there will be some changes to the North Texas football program. Someone will have to call the plays and guide the offense. Major Applewhite would be a huge coup for the Mean Green.

An outside hire would signal that major changes are on the horizon.

Featured Image Graham Harrell File.

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Dillon Swan

Dillon Swan

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