Clay Helton confirmed Graham Harrell will have complete control of play calling while talking up USC football’s new offensive coordinator on Tuesday.
USC football hasn’t officially announced the hiring of new offensive coordinator Graham Harrell, but the Trojans are confident enough in that deal being done that head coach Clay Helton is already talking about him.
In an interview on the USC Athletics website on Tuesday, addressing many of the concerns USC fans have had through a tumultuous start of the offseason, Helton referenced the new OC who will be announced “very soon.”
“Our new OC will be someone who is knowledgeable, innovative, dynamic and successful in both the pass and run games and has the ability to teach the system to the entire offensive unit,” Helton said.
More from Reign of Troy
- Markese Stepp enters transfer portal intending to leave USC football
- USC football’s Alijah Vera-Tucker declares for NFL Draft
- USC football adds Xavion Alford as transfer from Texas
- USC Podcast: RoT Radio Ep. 396 on the Football Season’s Fallout
- Talanoa Hufanga named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, USC football with five first-teamers
The head coach also praised Harrell for his equal emphasis on scheme, fundamentals and techniques while being a “natural leader.”
Critically, for many USC fans at least, Helton also confirmed that Harrell will handle play calling duties while Helton himself will be concerned with “managing game situations” on game days.
When Helton parted ways with offensive coordinator Tee Martin, who he had taken playcalling duties from earlier in the season, it was expected that whoever was hired as a replacement would have more autonomy. Kliff Kingsbury was initially brought in with full control of the offense and that control will now extend to Harrell, who called plays under Seth Littrell at North Texas for three seasons.
As for what Trojan fans can expect from Harrell’s offense, Helton called him an “aggressive mind as a play caller with the ability to adjust to what is going on within the game.”
Having watched a USC team in 2018 regularly blow double-digit leads and struggle to close out games, identifying a play caller who adjusts well in-game should be a major plus.
After the Trojans finish up recruiting on Signing Day next week, Harrell’s first job will be to introduce his version of the Air Raid this spring. Though the Trojans have been incorporating spread concepts into their offense for years, the change to a new system will no doubt dominate talk during camp.