Littrell coordinator search

North Texas coach Seth Littrell is in the market for both an offensive and defensive coordinator after firing first-year offensive coordinator Bodie Reeder and defensive coordinator Troy Reffett. Sources with knowledge of the situation said Littrell is not in a huge hurry and will focus on making those hires after the early signing period. 

North Texas coach Seth Littrell is in no rush to hire new offensive and defensive coordinators and will focus on solidifying his recruiting class before turning his attention to his staff, multiple sources with knowledge of the situation told the Denton Record-Chronicle this week.

Littrell fired offensive coordinator Bodie Reeder and defensive coordinator Troy Reffett following the Mean Green's season-ending loss to the University of Alabama at Birmingham on Saturday. UNT announced the departures of both Reeder and Reffett on Monday.

Finding the right coaches to replace Reeder and Reffett will be critical to UNT's future under Littrell after a 4-8 season. The Mean Green played in bowl games in each of his first three seasons and won nine games the past two years before struggling this fall.

“It is difficult any time we don’t meet our own expectations as coaches, and this was one of those years,” Littrell said in a statement announcing the departure of Reeder and Reffett. "Sometimes a different perspective is needed for the growth of a program, and I feel like this is one of those times.”

UNT lost offensive coordinator Graham Harrell to Southern Cal after the 2018 season. Littrell turned to Reeder, who was the offensive coordinator at Eastern Washington, to replace Harrell.

Littrell and Reeder never seemed to mesh. UNT averaged 30.6 points per game, down from 34.6 last season. Littrell took over play-calling duties late in the season. 

Littrell has spent a sizable chunk of his career as an offensive coordinator and is heavily involved in UNT's offense. He found a comfort zone melding his system with Harrell's scheme early in his tenure at UNT.

Toward the end of Harrell's time at UNT, it became apparent both were ready to move on. Littrell said throughout the offseason that he wanted to get back to some of his base concepts offensively, including using tight ends more extensively and pushing the pace.

Littrell was hoping Reeder would help him successfully implement those changes. Littrell will take another crack at finding the right coach to help with that process after struggling to develop a working partnership with Reeder.

Reffett was one of the original members of Littrell's staff. He served as UNT's co-defensive coordinator in 2016 before taking over as UNT's sole coordinator heading into the 2017 season.

UNT excelled defensively in 2018 while allowing 24.2 points per game before struggling this season while seeing its average rise to 32.5 points.

Littrell faces an even tougher decision when it comes to replacing Reffett than he does when it comes to finding a new offensive coordinator. Littrell has often said he isn't changing his offensive system.

The defensive scheme UNT runs will be dictated by the coach he hires. 

The Mean Green ran a 3-3-5 scheme under Reffett. Littrell could look for a coordinator who runs the same system or turn to a coach who will implement a different scheme.

Littrell faces those decisions at a time he and his staff are working through a key point time in the recruiting cycle. The early signing period begins on Dec. 18. The Mean Green have 17 players committed to join their class, which is currently ranked second in Conference USA by 247Sports.

Littrell and his staff have been conducting in-home visits with those prospects over the past several days. UNT has been trying to add to its class at the same time and hosted four junior college prospects the weekend of its game against UAB.

UNT is hoping to add several junior college players to its class in the days leading up to the early signing period.

Littrell is expected to quickly focus on finalizing his coaching staff shortly after.

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.

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