Posted on December 1, 2021


  By Matt Weiner, SportsPac12

sOnce Lincoln Riley was appointed on Sunday afternoon, USC was at the center of the media storm.

The speech has reached every imaginable corner, but one aspect of this whirlwind that has been overlooked is the future of OC Graham Harrell. If his job wasn’t hanging on a thread after Saturday’s loss to BYU, it sure is now.

In this detour, subjects varied from becoming increasingly preoccupied with the final command to questioning how exactly he had earned the motto of being an air raid guru. Either way, disappointment and urgency filled Los Angeles’ fragile skies.

Jaxson Dart throws while being saved by BYU LB Ben Bywater | Ashley Landis/AFP

A change must be made.

As the mushroom cloud of news and reaction around Riley’s hiring begins to fade, I’m left wondering what Riley’s MO would be in this situation.

There is plenty of evidence as to why everyone on the cast should be dumped besides Dontey Williams, but Harrell’s job can be saved thanks to some old relationships.

Relationships go back to the height of USC’s supremacy over the world, when Harrell and Riley of the Red Raiders in Lubbock, Texas were at Texas Tech.

From 2004-2008, Harrell was an All-American, setting eight NCAA records, Walking from landing against Texas Riley was counting the X and O as a wide receiving coach.

Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell vs All Miss | Wesley Heat/Getty Images

After more than a decade and some change after that, Riley has to make. Staying true to a former capo or severing ties?

Loyalty means as little in the world of college football as it does in mafia movies, but this time This will not put the traveler’s head in bed next to Harrel.

It also doesn’t mean past glory days will be enough to keep Harrell as the OC rather than looking to bring in some real firepower. The only thing that is clear is that Graham Harrell and firepower do not belong in the same sentence.

Take the last 35 minutes against Washington State, where USC put 45 points unanswered, and there’s good reason Harrell was not fired.

If you were to take a step back and look at the 2021 season, the numbers suggest he’s keeping his job. However, the statistics are misleading.

The USC Pac-12 leads in yards per game (447.1), total pass yards (3315), and pass yards per game (301.4), but they are all byproducts of great trash time.

USC Drake Receiver London and Stanford || Luis Cinco/Los Angeles Times

In the first three quarters of their home losses to Stanford, Oregon, and Utah, they edged out 98-40. However, in the fourth quarter of those same three matches, the Trojans outperformed their opponents 41-24.

The end results look more competitive, but they are all smoke and mirrors.

It’s like knowing you’re a week away from breaking up with someone so you do your best to open car doors, pull out chairs, and buy chocolates and flowers.

So when it’s time to drop the hatch, you’re leaving a more rosy picture of yourself that’s supposed to clear out all your mistakes. Lots of bad things and some good things at the last second won’t cancel each other out.

The Colosseum’s excellence in trash time at home was long forgotten when USC drove into the field 4 minutes from time with a 35-31 ratio. The Cougars’ four-point lead was essential to understanding the errors that Harrell had yet to fix.

They rose to the scene in the first two quarters of the season against San Jose State when Parker Lewis hit two kicks in the red. Ten games and seven losses later nothing has changed.

The Trojans are ranked 17th in the red, but this is mostly due to achieving the second highest number of field goals. They are ranked outside the top 15 in the fast descent in the red zone, and they are outside the top 50 in the fast descent in the red zone.

Leaving points on the field permanently puts Harrell behind in the jackpot, and the last-second touchdown engine against the rumored Cougars could have calmed temporarily.

USC Runs Back Vavae Malepeai vs. BYU | John McGillen / University of Southern California Athletics

The engine’s first nine plays seemed enormous to the Trojans. They were able to go from 30 to their 19 Cougars in two minutes and 46 seconds. Harel’s heavy attack with Vavae Malepeai leading the way was chopping up the cougars.

But he eventually came back to bite him.

Dart was taken out of the equation and, with the exception of one scramble down, had no drive contributions. When forced to throw, the chemistry with the receivers wasn’t there.

First, he opened a shot to Gary Bryant Jr. in the end zone. A risky play that didn’t need to be called because there was more than a minute on the clock and USC had all three timeouts.

Then came Malepeai’s successive lunges that gained a total of 4 yards, leaving the runway stunned, followed by a fourth downhill dip that was less than sticks and astonishment turned into the well-known fact.

Harrell has not been announced.

Graham Harrell in 2019 | Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

His reputation revolved around being the next great master of air raids. This was clearly the result of a group of men he worked with at the University of North Texas and weaker competition, rather than his own schemes and philosophy.

Back-to-back runs improve the look that was consistently displayed throughout the game and the final drive, then run tracks of the receivers running that would ensure the first bottom screams wouldn’t get through. air head Nor Air raid.

With Lincoln Riley in command now, he either keeps Harel and is in complete control of theatrical communication or goes with a new OC.

Either way, Harrell won’t have the final say in playing in the red because when the push comes in, the points will be left on the field.


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