Three days after Jeff Lebby was announced as the head coach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs, Oklahoma has announced that offensive analyst Seth Littrell and tight ends coach Joe Jon Finley will fill his position as offensive coordinators.
OU is thrilled to announce the following changes to our coaching staff:— Oklahoma Football (@OU_Football) November 29, 2023
▪️Seth Littrell, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach
▪️Joe Jon Finley, Co-Offensive Coordinator/Tight Ends Coach https://t.co/SDLsgzUdBT | #OUDNA pic.twitter.com/PtLDoTa10I
Littrell, who was a captain for the Oklahoma Sooners’ 2000 national championship team, came back to OU this past offseason after serving as the head coach at North Texas from 2016 to 2022. Prior to his time in Denton, he was the offensive coordinator at North Carolina (2014-15), Indiana (2012-13) and Arizona (2010-11). At each of his coordinator stops, Littrell’s offenses improved markedly each season, culminating with his 2015 UNC offense finishing No. 2 nationally in offensive SP+. Additionally, he has worked with Bill Bedenbaugh at both Arizona and Texas Tech. The importance of chemistry between an offensive coordinator and offensive line coach can’t be overstated, which is part of the reason why this seems like a good fit.
Finley, also a former team captain, has been Oklahoma’s tight ends & h-backs coach since 2021. Prior to his return to Norman, he served as tight ends coach at Ole Miss (2020), Texas A&M (2019) and Missouri (2016-18). He also served as passing game coordinator at Ole Miss. Familiarity with the system, terminology and personnel serve to help in this transition, and he’s also received rave reviews behind the scenes for his schematic understanding.
Oklahoma certainly did vet external candidates, and that process was likely occurring in some part prior to Lebby’s hiring at MSU. However, when Sean Lewis accepted the head coaching job at San Diego State, it likely signified the end of any of that, with Oklahoma electing to stay in-house.
Not to be overlooked in all of this is the fact that any potential damage has been limited. Oklahoma does not appear to be losing any position coaches, and the Sooners have only lost one recruit at this point (WR Dozie Ezukanma), with plenty of others publicly reaffirming their commitment.
Oh, and Jackson Arnold seems to like it.