West Virginia hires Graham Harrell as offensive coordinator

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West Virginia has hired Graham Harrell as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach to try to bolster a unit that ranked near the bottom of the Big 12 in 2021.

The Mountaineers are hoping the addition of Harrell can give them a spark after going 17-18 in coach Neal Brown‘s first three seasons.

“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 in a statement.

Harrell, 36, spent the past three seasons in the same role at Southern Cal, which hired Lincoln Riley away from Oklahoma as its head coach in late November. The Trojans led the Pac-12 in passing this season at 298 yards per game and were 24th nationally in total offense at 444 yards per game.

Harrell also spent three seasons as offensive coordinator at North Texas. Before that he spent two seasons as a Washington State assistant under Mike Leach, his coach while he played at Texas Tech. Harrell runs a version of Leach’s Air Raid offense.

“I have followed Graham’s playing and coaching career for quite some time, and there’s no question he is a talented coach with a bright future,” Brown said.

West Virginia could use the offensive infusion. The Mountaineers were eighth in total offense in the Big 12 with an average of 371 yards and scored the second-fewest touchdowns.

Harrell set numerous NCAA passing records at Texas Tech from 2005 to 2008, including single-season completions with 512 and surpassing 400 passing yards 11 times, both in 2007. He threw for more than 5,000 yards in both the 2007 and 2008 seasons and was a Heisman Trophy finalist and a Sammy Baugh Trophy winner. He then spent three seasons with the Green Bay Packers, winning a Super Bowl ring while throwing only four passes as Aaron Rodgers’ backup.

“I grew up in the Big 12, played in it, and I look forward to getting back to competing in it,” Harrell said. “I can’t wait to get to know our players and help this program make its mark.”

West Virginia will break in a new starting quarterback next fall after two-year starter Jarret Doege announced last month that he will transfer.

That decision left Garrett Greene as West Virginia’s most experienced quarterback. Greene threw for 147 yards and was the team’s third-leading rusher with 297 yards in 11 games this past season. The Mountaineers also will have incoming recruit Nicco Marchiol, the Arizona high school player of the year. Marchiol is enrolled at WVU this month.

Harrell will replace Gerad Parker, who will become co-offensive coordinator while retaining his position as wide receivers coach. Brown also announced that Chad Scott will remain as running backs coach and add the role of run-game coordinator. Meanwhile, tight ends and inside wide receivers coach Travis Trickett announced his departure Sunday on Twitter.

West Virginia went 6-7 in 2021, losing to Minnesota 18-6 in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl.

Alabama suspends freshman defensive back after drug arrest

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama freshman defensive back Tony Mitchell has been suspended from the team following his arrest on a drug charge.

Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said Monday after the first practice of spring that Mitchell was suspended from the team “and all team activities until we gather more information about the situation and what his legal circumstance is.”

The Holmes County Sheriff’s Office arrested Mitchell and another man, Christophere Lewis, last week on a charge of possession of marijuana with the intent to sell or deliver, according to a post on the department’s Facebook page. Lewis also was charged with carrying a concealed gun without a permit.

“Everybody’s got an opportunity to make choices and decisions,” Saban said. “There’s no such thing as being in the wrong place at the wrong time. You’ve gotta be responsible for who you’re with, who you’re around and what you do, who you associate yourself with and the situations that you put yourself in. It is what it is, but there is cause and effect when you make choices and decisions that put you in bad situations.”

Mitchell, who is from Alabaster, Alabama, was a five-star prospect rated the 34th-best player and No. 3 safety in the 247Composite rankings.

Mitchell was driving the vehicle during a traffic stop. After deputies smelled marijuana, Mitchell picked up a baggie of marijuana from the passenger floorboard, according to the department’s Facebook post.

Sheriff’s deputies found “an additional significant amount of marijuana, a set of scales, a loaded handgun between the passenger seat and center console, and a large amount of cash,” according to the department’s Facebook post.

Missouri linebacker Chad Bailey suspended after arrest

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COLUMBIA, Mo. — Missouri linebacker Chad Bailey was suspended from the team after he was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, the team said.

The 23-year-old, who was a team captain last season, was booked at about 2:45 a.m. and released after posting $500 bond, according to online records from the Boone County Sheriff’s Office.

“We are aware of the situation involving Chad Bailey,” Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz said in a statement to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “He’s been suspended according to Department of Athletics policy. We have high expectations for all of our student-athletes, on and off the field, and we will follow all departmental and campus policies.”

Bailey was Mizzou’s third-leading tackler with 57 stops last season. He started all 11 games he played, missing two with an injury. He’ll be a sixth-year senior this fall after opting to return for his final year of eligibility, the Post-Dispatch reported.

The Missouri student-athlete handbook says any athlete who is arrested must serve a minimum one-week suspension.

Bailey was pulled over at about 1 a.m. not far from the Columbia campus for an expired license plate and lane violation, a police statement said. Bailey told the officer he had consumed alcohol and then performed poorly on a field sobriety test, the Post-Dispatch reported.