Littrell's Second Year Success: It's A Pattern
Seth Littrell Has Seen Significant Steps Forward In Year Two Of His System At All Stops
DENTON – Seth Littrell is one week into year two of his head coaching career in 2017, and looking back at his previous jobs, one thing is clear: there is a statistical trend that has followed him at every stop.
Prior to his arrival in Denton, Littrell was offensive coordinator at three schools. Each time his offense hit year two, there was an uptick in total offense and points per game. That is certainly the plan for the 2017 Mean Green offense, which was much improved in Littrell’s first season.
As the Mean Green head into a week two clash with Metroplex rival SMU, they do so after rolling up a school-record 668 yards of total offense (436 on the ground) and put up 59 points, the most scored in an opener in school history against Lamar to open 1-0.
North Texas is looking to win at Gerald J. Ford Stadium for just the second time ever, and first since a 7-0 win in 1933.
Littrell, 39, helped North Texas improve 9.6 points per game offensively from 2015 to 2016, which was the 11th best turnaround in the country in that area. The Mean Green’s 24.8 points per game helped the team jump 24 spots nationally in scoring offense, and another 23 spots in passing offense.
When Littrell took over as co-offensive coordinator at Arizona, the Wildcats ranked 53rd nationally in scoring at 28.2 points per game, 24th in total offense (439.4 per game) and ninth in passing yardage (307.7 per game). Year two saw the Arizona offense score 2.6 points per game more (30.8), and the team improved to third-best in the country in passing yardage (370.8 yards per game), as well as a 37-spot improvement in total offense (465.2).
Littrell then moved to Bloomington to take on the offensive coordinator role for the Indiana Hoosiers under Kevin Wilson in 2012. In year one, Indiana’s offense finished 51st in scoring offense (30.8 points per game), 17th in passing offense (311.2) and 34th in total offense (442.0). The Hoosiers then spiked to 16th nationally in scoring (38.4 points per game), increasing their output by 7.6 points each game. While the passing yards per game actually decreased in 2013, the total offensive output increased by 66.5 yards per game and finished ninth in the nation.
From there, Littrell joined Larry Fedora’s staff at North Carolina, where, you guessed it, improvement came along with the Oklahoma native. In Littrell’s first season in 2014, the Tar Heels ranked 36th nationally in scoring offense at 33.2 points per game, while posting 429.8 yards per game of total offense (45th best in the country) and 278.4 yards per game in passing offense (27th in the nation).
In 2015, the Heels improved immensely in one of the program’s most successful seasons in its history. North Carolina went 11-1, and an 8.9 points per game jump followed (41.2 through 12 games), which saw the Heels rank 11th in the country at that time. A 65.9 yards per game increase in total offense saw North Carolina leap 29 spots in the national rankings to No. 16. Like his second-year squad in Bloomington, Littrell’s offense saw a more balanced attack, achieving that total offensive bump with a slightly decreased production in passing yardage per game.
All of this bodes well for the Mean Green as they enter 2017. Continued increases across those three key categories should spell more success in the win column this fall, especially when you factor in the marked improvement North Texas saw on the other side of the ball in 2016 as well.
The biggest questions offensively for North Texas in 2017 are whether the offensive line, which sur-rendered 41 sacks a year ago, will continue to improve, and whether their quarterback play will be able to make the leap in their second year in the system. The Mean Green are also replacing three of their four leading receivers, though an influx in talent at the position is expected to pay immediate dividends for North Texas.
Though the Mean Green are nowhere near where they aim to be, if Littrell can show a second-year improvement at North Texas like he has at his previous three stops, they will be well on the way to reaching those goals.