Everyone associates Graham Harrell with the “Air Raid” offense, but does the West Virginia offensive coordinator agree that label fits him?
The answer is not really. Harrell feels he runs more of a balanced offense. While discussing his offensive scheme, which often comes up as a focus of his press conferences, Harrell was asked about how balanced this year’s WVU offense has been with so much success on the ground and if that was the plan or has been more of a surprise. Harrell just shrugged off the question, not in a disrespectful way, as he’s always in a good mood when talking with the media (or anyone for that matter), but to suggest that he’s just giving good players the ball. He explained that his offense at North Texas, where he first earned the title of offensive coordinator in his coaching career, ran far more than passing. That was due to the best player on that team being a running back.
The emergence of CJ Donaldson, who had never played running back before this season, Tony Mathis stepping up into the featured back role, something he hadn’t been before, and even sophomore Justin Johnson Jr. filling in well when needed has allowed the Mountaineers to use the ground game to success. Obviously Harrell, a former quarterback who played and learned under the man credited with creating the “Air Raid” in Mike Leach, isn’t afraid to be heavy on passing, and it’s easy to want to throw the ball with a quarterback like JT Daniels and receivers like Bryce Ford-Wheaton, but he also realizes the run helps set up the pass and keep the defense honest. This is especially true when you have an elite quarterback.
Harrell explained that Daniels is so smart and aware of the necessity in being balanced that he told his OC that he would rather run than pass when asked his thoughts on a play in the middle of a game.
The point is that Harrell believes the “Air Raid” tag may only truly fit Leach – his mentor. Forcing every coach who’s worked under Leach and is apart of his coaching tree to be boxed in with the “Air Raid” just doesn’t work. But what the offensive is called isn’t relevant to Harrell. All that matters if if points are being put on the board. And it’s fair to say WVU, that’s posted 31, 42, 65 and 33 points in its games so far, is, if nothing else, scoring – the goal of any offense.
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WV Sports Now Daily Notebook – December 11
Absence of WR Tez Walker to Hamper North Carolina’s Offense in Bowl Against WVU
WVU Football Looking to Add Another TE to Offense with Offer to MSU Transfer
WVU Wrestling Defeats Air Force, Northern Colorado to Sweep Weekend Road Trip
WVU Women’s Basketball Destroys Delaware State 107-43
WVU Football WR Decides to Enter Portal for Final College Season
Several Key WVU Football Players Announce Plans to Return, Promote Country Roads Trust
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Would Neal Brown Ever Welcome Back Former Mountaineers Available in Portal?
Marshall HC Charles Huff Directly Blames Fans for QB Transferring
Postgame Reaction to WVU’s Win Over Drexel
Postgame Reaction After WVU Basketball’s 80-63 Loss to Pitt
Watch: WVU C Jesse Edwards’ Dunk Ignites Crowd at Backyard Brawl
Watch: Neal Brown, Charlotte Sports Commission Executive Director Danny Morrison on Duke’s Mayo Bowl
Watch: Eilert, Naveh Preview Backyard Brawl Against Pitt
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