Neal Brown highlighted the need for a strong rushing attack in WVU’s new offense under offensive coordinator Graham Harrell.
Harrell comes from the Mike Leech coaching tree and runs an air raid offense, but still ran the ball 44.3% of the time last year. That’s much higher than Leech’s 27.5% last season.
Brown didn’t directly reference those numbers, but spoke about how Harrell has evolved to run more balanced offenses at both USC and North Texas.
“I think we have to,” said Brown on running the ball. “I think when you look at how this league’s evolved and when you look at how Graham’s evolved as a play caller. If you look at, even before USC if you go back to North Texas, they’ve had a really balanced attack and they performed pretty well offensively there.”
Last season at USC, Harrell’s offense averaged 145.9 yards per game. That’s much higher than WVU’s average of 123.2 yards per game, which was last in the Big 12 by more than a 15 yard average.
In Harrell’s last season at North Texas the team averaged 153.8 yards per game. His team had 455 rushing attempts that year on 959 plays, a 47.4% run play call percentage.
“I think that’s what you want to do in any air raid system,” said Brown. “Your quarterback is going to have some off days. Hopefully they are few and far between, but there’s going to be an off day at some point. We gotta be good enough around him running the ball, defensively, to still win those games.”
Brown then emphasized that the team needs to be better and one of the ways to get better is to run the ball against the better teams in the Big 12. He said that’s been a focus for his team since the off-season started in January.