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Who Should be West Virginia Football’s Next Offensive Coordinator?



With the Graham Harrell era at WVU lasting just one disappointing season, it’s time to discuss possible replacements to lead the West Virginia offense.

The timing of this happening is obviously less than ideal, especially with prominent coaches getting hired around the country. There’s also still the great unknown of who will lead the Mountaineers as the starting quarterback to open the 2023 season and what pieces he will have around him.

Regardless to what went wrong in 2022 and what style of offense Harrell actually ran, since it didn’t end up being the traditional “Air Raid” style that has followed him throughout his career, the focus is now how WVU can move on. There are solid options that could make sense. If they are actual possibilities may be another story.

Seth Littrell

Notable WVU fan, West Virginia native and former NFL wide receiver Ryan Switzer, is advocating for Seth Littrell to take over the offense for the Mountaineers. Littrell is available, which is a plus when searching for a coach in mid December. He was fired as head coach at North Texas shortly after Wren Baker left the Mean Green to become athletic director at WVU.

Littrell ushered in the most successful period in North Texas football history, leading the program to five bowl appearances. By most accounts, his removal was centered around North Texas looking for a fresh start by pairing a new AD with a new head coach. But just because he failed to get a Group of 5 program over the hump as head coach doesn’t mean he would not be a great fit as an offensive coordinator of a Power 5 program.

North Texas’ offense averaged 33.9 points per game in 2022, an improvement from 27.4 in 2021. Offense was not what held Littrell’s team back. His offenses also incorporated plenty of running over the years, even having more success on the ground than through the air, so there’s no worry in a Littrell offense not being balanced. This is much in the same way Harrell used running to either compliment the passing game, set up passes or just out of necessity due to the athletes on the field and what was working in that particular game.

While Littrell would be an experienced coach with a solid track record, it’s possible his scheme would not be that much of a departure to what has been happening at WVU. Littrell is a member of the Mike Leach coaching tree, having worked under the late offensive innovator at Texas Tech as a running back coach from 2005 to 2008. He also hired Harrell to be his offensive coordinator during his first few years at North Texas.

Clint Trickett

If you want someone with West Virginia connections who could be ready for the opportunity, look no further than Clint Trickett. The former Mountaineer quarterback, who played two seasons at WVU in 2013 and 2014 after transferring from Florida State, currently serves as the offensive coordinator at Marshall.

Hiring Trickett now wouldn’t be simply handing something to a former player like it would have been years ago. He has worked his way up the coaching ranks, starting as quarterback’s coach at East Mississippi State Community College in 2015, and jumping from a school like Marshall to the Mountaineers could actually make sense at this point in his career. Trickett actually received a promotion before the 2022 season, advancing from wide receiver’s coach to quarterback’s coach and OC with the Thundering Herd. Trickett worked with tight ends at Florida Atlantic before going back to the state of West Virginia at Marshall.

Some believe Trickett is a rising star in college coaching, especially since he’s been able to achieve consistent OC status in the FBS ranks and is only 31-years-old. Those on the outside would probably view bringing in Trickett as just doing so because of his connection to the program, but it’s possible he’s the right man for the job no matter what, although his offense at Marshall didn’t rank all that much higher than WVU this past season.

Pat White

When one of the most beloved players in the history of the program is also a coach, his name is going to get brought up by people. Pat White’s legacy stands as among the most electrifying players in college football history and the only quarterback to win four bowl games in a row as the starter at the Division I or FBS level. Bringing White in as offensive coordinator would no doubt elicit buzz and hype around a program that needs some of that, but is truly ready for the job?

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Going from offensive assistant, even though it’s in the NFL with the Chargers, to running your own show at a major program like WVU would be a pretty big leap. Prior to joining the Chargers staff, White was the quarterback’s coach at FCS level Campbell and Alabama State before that. To White’s credit, he has coached in the FBS too, having served as running back’s coach for a season at USF in 2020. Before USF, White began his coaching career with Alcorn State.

Not that he could do anything to tarnish the glory he brought to West Virginia during his time as quarterback, but is returning to WVU with tons of expectations and pressure something White would even feel is best for him still in the midst of developing himself as a coach.

Mark Whipple

Mark Whipple and Neal Brown have a very long relationship that goes all the way back to Brown’s playing days at UMass. Whipple was the Minutemen’s head coach from 1998 to 2003 and he gave Brown his first coaching job as a grad assistant. Whipple would be the most experienced of any potential candidate brought up, or really right up there among any active coach.

He most recently served as offensive coordinator with Nebraska, but a coaching change from Scott Frost to Matt Rhule saw Marcus Satterfield be brought in as OC. This would also be an interesting move since it would likely needle WVU’s historical Backyard Brawl rival in Pitt. Whipple spent three seasons as Pitt’s OC, helping win the Panthers an ACC title and mold Kenny Pickett into a Heisman candidate and NFL first round pick. He’s even served on several NFL staffs with the Steelers, Eagles and Browns.

Whipple has done it all. He has experienced it all. He would be a huge get for the Mountaineers.

What about someone on the current staff?

In addition to any of these names currently outside the program, it is possible West Virginia simply promotes someone already in house. If that’s the case, running back’s coach Chad Scott, who is partly responsible for the recruiting success under Brown, tight end’s coach Sean Reagan or even Brown to just decide to call the plays himself could be possibilities.

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