New North Texas coach Littrell plans high-powered offense
DENTON, Texas (AP) — A few minutes after Seth Littrell slipped on a North Texas cap and thanked a long list of people for helping him be in position for his first head coaching job, he started talking about his plans for the offense.
“We’re going to run the triple option,” Littrell said.
As laughter filled the club area in the stadium where Littrell was being formally introduced Monday, athletic director Rick Villarreal said, “Let’s start this press conference over.”
No worries, the Mean Green are going to get what they want. Littrell expects to have the same kind of high-powered offense that he did at his other coaching spots, spreading things out and scoring a lot of points. That is what he did calling plays for North Carolina the last two seasons, including Saturday night for the No. 10 Tar Heels in a 45-37 loss to No. 1 Clemson in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game.
“We’re going to be up tempo, we’re going to be flying around, we’re going to be spreading the ball around to as many different positions as possible,” Littrell said. “We’re going to tee it high, let it fly and we’re going to put points on the board. Offensively, from day one, that’s what I’ve always been about.”
The 37-year-old Littrell, now the youngest coach in Conference USA and one of the youngest in the country, got a five-year contract to take over a team that has only one winning record the past 11 seasons.
North Texas is coming off a 1-11 season, matching the most losses in school history. Coach Dan McCarney was five games into his fifth season when fired almost immediately after a 66-7 homecoming loss to Portland State on Oct. 10, the most lopsided loss ever by an FBS team to a lower-division team.
Littrell said his focus is on the future of North Texas, and that he is not worried about what happened in the past.
An Oklahoma native, Littrell was a running back on the Sooners’ 2000 national championship team. He was offensive coordinator at Arizona (2010-11) and Indiana (2012-13) before going to North Carolina. Texas was a primary recruiting area for him throughout and he said “that’s exactly where we’re going to start, right here at home.”
“We want those kids to play at North Texas,” Littrell said.
The Mean Green’s 31,000-seat stadium opened in 2011 at the intersection where Interstate 35 reconnects after splitting through Dallas and Fort Worth to the south. There are plenty of quality high school players nearby, including two Denton high schools that this season advanced to the quarterfinals in the Texas Class 6A playoffs.
Villarreal first became aware of Littrell during his search that led to McCarney being hired five years ago. The AD was told by others to keep on an eye on the young coach for the future.
“He’s a guy that is going to take us places we should have been a long time ago,” Villarreal said.
Littrell first interviewed for the job a month ago, but with the Tar Heels making a run to the ACC title game, and Littrell committed to the players and coaches there, the process stretched out through last weekend.
“We had the right guy,” Villarreal said. “We had the right guy all along.”
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