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Oklahoma Sooners Football: Names to know in OU’s offensive coordinator search

OU will like both in-house and outside of the program in its search to replace Jeff Lebby.

USC v Colorado Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

With Jeff Lebby officially announced as Mississippi State’s head coach, the Oklahoma Sooners are in the market for an offensive coordinator to lead them into the SEC. Here is a list of names to get familiar with as the search heats up:

In-House:

Seth Littrell

Current Position: Offensive Analyst (Oklahoma)

Recent Background:

  • Offensive Coordinator/Fullbacks/Tight Ends @ Indiana (2012-13)
  • Associate Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator @ North Carolina (2014-15)
  • Head Coach @ North Texas (2016-22)
  • Offensive Analyst @ Oklahoma (2023)

Notes: The most obvious candidate on this list as he checks a lot of boxes for Oklahoma. On top of his history at OU and familiarity with the current offensive staff, Littrell is already involved in the Sooners’ recruiting efforts. While his offensive scheme isn’t identical to Lebby’s, it has its similarities on top of proven success in multiple power five conferences.

Joe Jon Finley

Current Position: Tight Ends coach (Oklahoma)

Recent Background:

  • Offensive Quality Control @ Baylor (2015)
  • Tight Ends coach @ Missouri (2016-18)
  • Tight Ends coach @ Texas A&M (2019)
  • Passing Game Coordinator/Tight Ends @ Ole Miss (2020)
  • Associate Head Coach for Offense/Tight Ends (2021-present)

Notes: The painless choice for Oklahoma is to simply promote Joe Jon Finley. Like Littrell, he has familiarity with both the offensive staff as well as current and future recruits. His resume isn’t quite as impressive as Littrell’s, but he’s served with Jeff Lebby more than anyone, making his familiarity with the previous system stronger than anyone’s (should they choose to stick to the same system to any extent). If this ends up happening, it’s likely in a co-coordinator role, possibly paired with Littrell.

Matt Wells

Current Position: Offensive Analyst (Oklahoma)

Recent Background:

  • Offensive Coordinator & Quarterbacks @ Utah State (2012)
  • Head Coach @ Utah State (2013-18)
  • Head Coach @ Texas Tech (2019-21)
  • Offensive Analyst @ Oklahoma (2022-present)

Notes:

Wells brings plenty of experience to the sideline, being a former head coach and play caller for the better part of a decade. In his final year at Utah State, he fielded the No. 3 scoring offense in the country. After a lackluster stint at Texas Tech, Wells has served as one of Oklahoma’s offensive analysts under Jeff Lebby.

Outside Contenders:

Sean Lewis

Current Position: Former Offensive Coordinator (Colorado)

Recent Background:

  • Co-Offensive Coordinator & Quarterbacks @ Bowling Green (2015)
  • Co-Offensive Coordinator & Quarterbacks @ Syracuse (2016-17)
  • Head Coach @ Kent State (2018-22)
  • Offensive Coordinator & Quarterbacks @ Colorado (2023)

Notes:

Despite being relieved of play calling duties and subsequently stepping down from his role at Colorado, Lewis remains a hot name in the offensive coordinator market. His work with Shedeur Sanders caught the nation’s attention early on this season, but Lewis had already made a name for himself with his success as the head coach at Kent State. His hire would garner national attention, and his extensive experience coaching quarterbacks would make him an easy fit to replace Lebby.

Willy Korn

Current Position: Offensive Coordinator (Liberty)

Recent Background:

  • Wide Receivers coach & Recruiting Coordinator @ Charleston Southern (2014-16)
  • Wide Receivers coach @ Coastal Carolina (2017-18)
  • Co-Offensive Coordinator & Quarterbacks @ Coastal Carolina (2019-22)
  • Co-Offensive Coordinator & Quarterbacks @ Liberty (2023-present)

Notes:

Not quite as popular as Sean Lewis, but the former Clemson quarterback has made quite the name for himself as an offensive coach under the tutelage of Jamey Chadwell. The knock on Korn is his lack of experience away from Chadwell, so it’s tough to determine just how much he is responsible for their offensive success. Chadwell is being looked at for a number of power five head coaching jobs, and Korn may simply follow him wherever he ends up. That said, with the recent offensive successes of Coastal Carolina and Liberty, who currently holds the No. 6 scoring offense in the country, Korn himself will attract some high bidders.

Brennan Marion

Current Position: Offensive Coordinator (UNLV)

Recent Background:

  • Running backs @ Oklahoma Baptist (2016)
  • Offensive Coordinator & Quarterbacks @ Howard (2017-18)
  • Offensive Coordinator & Quarterbacks @ Williams & Mary (2019)
  • Wide Receivers Coach @ Hawaii (2020)
  • Wide Receivers Coach @ Pittsburgh (2021)
  • Passing Game Coordinator & Wide Receivers @ Texas (2022)
  • Offensive Coordinator & Quarterbacks @ UNLV (2023-present)

Notes:

Marion is one of the hottest up-and-coming young coaches in the country and is being pursued as such. Arkansas, Penn State, and Notre Dame are among a number of programs vying for Marion’s services as OC, and he’s also receiving some head coaching buzz elsewhere. He’s created a balanced and productive offense for the Rebels, who currently rank 19th in the country in scoring, fifth in red zone conversions and fourth in 3rd down conversions. Despite being relatively new to the D1 scene, Marion has plenty of people excited about his future.

Ryan Grubb

Current Position: Offensive Coordinator (Washington)

Recent Background:

  • Offensive Line @ Eastern Michigan (2014-16)
  • Offensive Line & Run Game Coordinator @ Fresno State (2017-18)
  • Associate Head Coach & Offensive Coordinator @ Fresno State (2019-21)
  • Offensive Coordinator & Quarterbacks @ Washington (2022-present)

Notes:

Grubb has garnered national attention with the success of Heisman contender Michael Penix, as well as a Washington offense that currently ranks fifth in offensive SP+. However, like Willy Korn, Grubb has attached himself to Kalen DeBoer, who has had immense success at almost every stop throughout his career, so there is some question as to how big his individual impact has been. That said, he’s in contention for some head coaching jobs at the power five level, so that will be a hurdle Oklahoma would have to clear in order to land maybe the most highly sought after offensive coordinator in the country. Additionally, he’s already making $2 million per year in Seattle, so if OU tries to up that dollar amount, UW would likely match it.

Other names:

Kliff Kingsbury (USC) - Would certainly make a splash, but not sure he’s what OU is looking for in this instance.

Emmett Jones (Oklahoma) - A long shot for an OC title, but OU really wants to keep him in town.

Andy Kotelnicki (Kansas) - He’s done an impressive job in Lawrence, to say the least.

Jeff Grimes (Baylor) - Baylor struggled mightily this year, so he would be a tough sell.

GJ Kinne (Texas State) - Currently a head coach, but only making 800k a year. If he doesn’t land a head coaching gig, it’s not completely outside of the realm of possibility.

Collin Klein (Kansas State) - Doesn’t seem likely, but a name that has popped up a few times.