Oklahoma offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby jumped on the coaching carousel on Sunday, leaving his post as the Sooners’ OC to take the head coaching gig at Mississippi State.
Turning down a head coaching job in the SEC isn’t really an option for many in the profession, but there was still a large contingent of folks who were surprised by his decision, given how hard it is to be successful in Starkville.
Nonetheless, Lebby is headed to the SEC a bit earlier than anticipated, leaving Oklahoma with a vacancy at the offensive play-caller position. So, who are the candidates for the job? Here are five names to know.
Seth Littrell, Off. Analyst, Oklahoma
The favorite to land the job early on is Oklahoma offensive analyst, Seth Littrell, who joined the Sooners’ staff ahead of the 2023 season after serving as the head coach at North Texas from 2016-2022. A fullback for Oklahoma’s legendary 2000 team, Litrell is plenty familiar with the state of Oklahoma as a native of Muskogee. Prior to taking the UNT job, Litrell was the OC at Arizona, Indiana, and North Carolina and has had plenty of success as a play-caller in the past. With a pre-existing relationship with the staff and roster in Norman, Litrell is a perfect fit for the job.
Brennan Marion, OC, UNLV
Brennan Marion is one of the hottest names on the coaching market right now, which makes him a candidate to land one of the most coveted jobs in America. UNLV’s offense was a major part of their ability to finish with a 9-3 record this season, with the Rebels’ offense leading the Mountain West in almost every statistical category. One problem Oklahoma might run into here is Marion is in the running for several head coaching gigs, including Houston, Oregon State, and UTEP. Arkansas and Penn State are also interested in Marion’s services as a play-caller, but I’d imagine OU likes their chances against that group, if Marion is the right fit that is.
Matt Wells, Off. Analyst, Oklahoma
Matt Wells, another former head coach serving as an offensive analyst in Norman, is another in-house candidate that the Sooners could turn to with Lebby out the door. The former Texas Tech (2019-2021) and Utah State (2013-2018) head coach has long been revered as one of the top offensive minds in the game. In Wells’ last season at Utah State, the Aggies were a fringe top-10 offense and produced first-round QB Jordan Love, who now starts for the Green Bay Packers. Like Litrell, Wells’ familiarity with Norman is a plus and his experience with quarterback gives him a leg up, as Lebby was also the QB coach at OU.
Andy Kotelnicki, OC, Kansas
Sometimes the best way to impress a coach is to show him just how much of a pain in the ass you can be to compete against on the field, and that’s exactly the reason why Andy Kotelnicki could be a candidate for the job. In a 38-33 victory over Oklahoma this season, Kotelnicki’s scheme at Kansas gave the Sooners’ defense all kinds of issues with a plethora of presnap motions and formations. At the end of the day, Kotelnicki has implemented a tough, downhill running attack that opens up vertical plays in the passing game, and that would fit OU’s needs going into the SEC.
Sean Lewis, OC, Colorado
After leaving a head coaching job at Kent State to become the play-caller at Colorado, Sean Lewis’ name has become rather hot in this coaching cycle. After a red-hot start to the 2023 season, the Buffs lost eight of their last nine games and Lewis had his play-calling duties stripped. Lewis’s work with Shedeur Sanders caught the eyes of many NFL scouts early on, but that has cooled since then. Still, an argument could be made that Lewis’ success would’ve been different had he been able to use any semblance of an offensive line. Well, that’s not an issue in Norman, so could he find instant success at OU as Jeff Lebby’s successor?