Morgantown, West Virginia – Imagine where the West Virginia Mountaineers would be without new offensive coordinator Graham Harrell.
Harrell, who was hired in the offseason to finally give the Mountaineers a real, proven offensive coordinator, also brought new starting quarterback JT Daniels along with him.
Without Harrell, Daniels would have almost certainly gone elsewhere, and without JT Daniels, West Virginia would be in far worse shape than they’re currently in.
Does West Virginia beat Virginia Tech on the road without Daniels’ leadership, experience and talent?
Would West Virginia have the leading passer (Daniels), rusher (freshman sensation CJ Donaldson) and wide receiver (Bryce Ford-Wheaton) in the Big 12 Conference without Harrell or Daniels?
Neal Brown’s Vanilla Raid Offense was an absolute disaster during his first three seasons in Morgantown and it would have continued if he wasn’t forced to make a change. Brown, who had nominal success as a play-caller at Troy, truly believed that if it worked at Troy, that it should work anywhere.
Of course Neal Brown was wrong and it cost West Virginia three full seasons of mediocrity, but his eventual hiring of Graham Harrell has the potential to save his career as the head coach of the Mountaineers.
Brown, who faced harsh criticism after a 6-7 record last season, reportedly had long conversations with West Virginia’s director of athletics Shane Lyons during the offseason and agreed to give up his play-calling duties to focus on the more important overall duty of running the entire team.
This decision should have been made three years prior, but Brown was previously steadfast in his belief that he should be the head coach and the offensive coordinator at the same time.
After last season, thought, he had the following revelation: “Since the end of the season, I have spent time reflecting on the program, and take responsibility, knowing we have to be better offensively,” Brown said. “I’ve been serving in a dual role as the offensive coordinator and head coach, and we need to bring in another voice for the offense. Having Graham as the offensive coordinator will make us a better, more-efficient offense and move us in the direction we need to head. In turn, that will allow me to be a more effective CEO of the Mountaineer football program.”
The point is that Neal Brown didn’t want this to happen. He waited three seasons to make the decision that everyone watching the team knew should have happened a long time ago, and when he did finally make the decision, it was forced on him by Shane Lyons.
Imagine where West Virginia would be if Neal Brown was still calling plays and if the Mountaineers didn’t have Graham Harrell and JT Daniels.