Littrell spent the last two seasons as Indiana's offensive coordinator. He replaces Blake Anderson, who departed Chapel Hill to become the head coach at Arkansas State last month.
Fedora interviewed Littrell during last week's American Football Coaches Association annual convention in Indianapolis.
Littrell’s history is rooted in the Hal Mumme-Mike Leach Air Raid coaching tree. The 35-year-old played running back under Leach at Oklahoma in 1999. Following graduation and a two-year stint as a graduate assistant at Kansas in ’03-04, Littrell rejoined Leach at Texas Tech as running backs coach from ’05-08.
In 2009, Arizona head coach Mike Stoops hired Littrell to coach running backs and tight ends. While Stoops had served as co-defensive coordinator at Oklahoma during Littrell’s playing days in Norman, the more relevant connection was Wildcats offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes, a Leach disciple who was co-offensive coordinator at Texas Tech in ’05-06.
When Dykes took the Louisiana Tech job in 2010, Littrell was elevated to co-offensive coordinator and assumed full offensive coordinator duties in 2011 in addition to coaching tight ends and H-backs. He coached tight end Rob Gronkowski, who was drafted by the New England Patriots in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft, during his first two seasons in Tucson.
Littrell’s 2011 offense ranked third nationally in passing offense (370.3 ypg) and 16th in total offense (464.8 ypg).
Littrell, who served as a team captain on Oklahoma’s national championship team in 2000, signed on with Indiana as offensive coordinator and tight ends/fullback coach in 2012. Last fall, the Hoosiers ranked ninth nationally in total offense (508.5 ypg), 16th in scoring offense (38.4 ppg), 17th in passing offense (306.7 ypg) and 30th in rushing offense (201.8 ypg).
Littrell described his offensive philosophy in an interview with ESPN.com following his hire at Indiana in January 2012:
“I played under Mike Leach at Oklahoma in 1999, so a lot of it comes from that ‘Air Raid’ background. But the biggest thing in coaching is you have to adjust. We've had to adjust. Sonny Dykes had to adjust when he first came to Arizona, and then I came in and we had Rob Gronkowski, so we used a little bit more tight end, play-action underneath. And then [in 2011], we didn't have as many tight ends, so we were more spread. You have to be a teacher and you have to understand what your strengths and weaknesses are as an offense and each individual player, and hopefully build something great around them. People look at me, coming from a huge passing background, but you look at Dana Holgorsen, who's one of my best friends at West Virginia. He's tweaked it his way; I've kind of tweaked it my way. And the tweaks you see are based upon what we have as personnel, but at the same time getting those guys in the best situations to compete.”
Littrell has employed many of the same principles that define UNC head coach Larry Fedora’s offense, including an up-tempo no-huddle approach and packaged plays that allow for run and pass options. Littrell told the Big Ten Network in September that he preferred to run between 90-100 plays per game.
When Anderson - who coached UNC's quarterbacks - departed for Arkansas State, he took with him tight end coach Walt Bell. Litrell is expected to coach tight ends for the Tar Heels, which leaves quarterback coach as the lone staff vacancy remaining for UNC.
SETH LITTRELL COACHING BACKGROUND
1997-00: Oklahoma - Player (Running Back)
2002-04: Kansas - Graduate Assistant
2005-08: Texas Tech - Running Backs
2009: Arizona - Running Backs & Tight Ends
2010: Arizona - Co-Offensive Coordinator/RB/TE
2011: Arizona - Offensive Coordinator/TE/H-backs
2012-: Indiana - Offensive Coordinator/TE/FB