It was a head-scratcher for many that Texas Tech fired Matt Wells Monday.
After all, the Red Raiders are 5-2 on the season and one win away from bowl eligibility for the first time since 2017. Rumors immediately swirled around about Wells’ potential replacements. However, no individual has received more consideration for the job than USC’s Offensive Coordinator Graham Harrell.
It’s a no-brainer, considering it’s the 36-year old’s alma mater. Not to mention Harrell was the last quarterback to lead Texas Tech to an 11-win season. He was also groomed by the Air Raid wizard Mike Leach, and understands the culture in Lubbock.
Regardless, Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt might be hesitant to pull the trigger on Harrell, especially after Kliff Kingbury’s shortcomings as the team’s coach. Although Harrell and Kingsbury both played the same position at the program, their coaching journeys have been different, so it’s hard to compare the two.
Harrell been getting his feet wet in the Pac-12 and is in his third year leading USC’s offense. It’s no surprise the Trojans have had one of the nation’s best passing attacks since he’s been orchestrating the offense. Harrell molded Kedon Slovis from a three-star prospect, to an All-Pac-12 performer. That’s another reason why Harrell’s system would thrive in the Big 12 and be a smooth transition with Texas Tech.
USC currently ranks first in the Pac-12 and 13th in the FBS in passing offense. The Air Raid system has worked in the Pac-12, Big 12, SEC and the NFL. Having Harrell on the sidelines would mean the Red Raiders’ offense would go back to putting up video game numbers. Wells was making a little over $3 million a year, but that’s nothing compared to other coaches around the league.
Harrell would probably take the same pay. The move will definitely be enticing for Harrell, he’s a Texas native and grew up three and a half hours away from Lubbock. Still, Harrell should be looking for some job stability anyway because the the Trojans’ new hire might not keep him on board. Donte Williams is the interim, but USC is still searching for the long-term guy.
Hocutt has a big decision to make over the next few weeks. It would be a complete shocker if the Red Raiders haven’t already reached out to Harrell about the position. In hindsight, the reunion would be beneficial for Texas Tech and the Big 12. Hocutt holds all the cards though, and could go a different route if he’s trying to bring a defensive-minded coach to change the culture.
Right now everything is up in the air, and Harrell still has a team to coach in Los Angeles. At this point it seems nearly impossible for either party to block out the outside noise as the search looms Texas Tech and USC. There’s no denying Harrell would bring instant credibility to the Red Raiders if hired, and make the league more exciting. It’s going to be interesting to see how all the chips fall from this point moving forward.