Graham Harrell Embraces Next Chapter of Football Career - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Graham Harrell Embraces Next Chapter of Football Career

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Graham Harrell is reunited with Mike Leach, as Harrell embarks on his first season as WSU's outside receivers coach. Graham Harrell is reunited with Mike Leach, as Harrell embarks on his first season as WSU's outside receivers coach.

In Mike Leach’s head coaching career few quarterbacks have played the position like Graham Harrell. Harrell started for Leach at Texas Tech from 2006-2008. Over that time he led the Red Raider to a 28-11 record along with two bowl wins. In Harrell’s senior season, Texas Tech went 11-2 with a win over then number one ranked Texas.

In those years, Harrell commanded the air raid offense like no one before. He set an NCAA record at the time with 134 career touchdown passes, while also ranking in the top five for career completions and passing yards.

“I definitely love the offense,” said Harrell. “That's what got me to Texas Tech, I just wanted to play in his offense.” 

Leach and Harrell proved to be the perfect pair in Lubock, and six years later the two reunited in Pullman.

“I don't think I ever pictured my self in Pullman, Washington,” said the former Texas Tech quarterback. “I didn't even know where Pullman was until about a year ago, but it's been great.”

In response to his relationship with Coach Leach, Harrell added, “We had some ups and downs, [but] he always stuck with me. We always stayed close and the first opportunity to get back with him I jumped at it.”

“He's always been a student of the game, watched a lot of film even as a kid,” said Leach. ‘He’s great as far as watching film, and understanding offenses and defenses. He’s just a great mentor to a lot of these guys.

Harrell started with the Cougars staff in 2014 as an offensive analyst. After a season with the team, Harrell got promoted to outside receivers coach last February after long-time Leach assistant Dennis Simmons left WSU for a job with the Oklahoma Sooners. 

With a quarterback mindset, Harrell’s knowledge and experience has been a huge benefit to the Washington offense.

“He's helped me a lot especially from a quarterback perspective,” said senior wide receiver Dom Williams.

Starting quarterback Luke Falk added, “I kind of pick his brain, see how he sees things because he played at the highest level. He's a huge asset at the quarterback position and even more of an asset at wide receiver because he knows what we're seeing.”

Harrell’s influence at WSU isn’t just in the X’s and O’s. In his short time with the Cougars, his catch phrase ‘Get a Taste’ has already caught on with the team.

“Get a taste, when the ball comes to you grab that thing, get into the endzone,” said senior wide receiver Dom Williams.

“I don't know where it came from honestly, but I like it,” said Harrell. “Get a taste is just if you beat somebody or beat them on a rep it's ‘get a taste.’ It's just kind of a phrase that goes with the opportunity to compete every play.”

Harrell pursued a pro career after graduating from Texas Tech, most notably as a member of the Green Bay Packers. Once opportunities in the NFL fanned out, he didn’t have to think twice about moving into coaching.

“Just the opportunity to compete has been great, so I think coaching it still lets me have that,” said Harrell. “It still gives me that competitive edge, it let's me go out and stay around the game that I've loved so much and it's been so good to me. Still compete and try to get my guys to compete in that same level.”

Graham Harrell and Coach Leach look to bring back their Texas Tech success, now to Washington State. They’ll get their first crack in the 2015 season on Saturday when they host the Portland State Vikings.

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