This Jeff Lebby successor could be destined for greater things beyond just Oklahoma

Oklahoma has opted to replace offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby from within with offensive analyst Seth Littrell and tight ends/H-backs coach Joe Jon Finley receiving new promotions.

Jeff Lebby, Oklahoma Sooners
Jeff Lebby, Oklahoma Sooners / John E. Moore III/GettyImages

Although it remains to be seen what becomes of the Oklahoma football program once the Sooners join the SEC next year alongside arch rival Texas, it has been a good week for three men associated with the program. Former offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby is reuniting with Mississippi State athletic director Zac Selmon to take over the reins of the Bulldogs football program over in Starkville in 2024.

Lebby was a serious candidate to be a first-time head coach this offseason. While he could have conceivably returned to UCF if Gus Malzahn left for his alma mater of Arkansas had the Razorbacks job opened up, Lebby became very much a frontrunner to replace Zach Arnett at Mississippi State because of the OU connection he had with Selmon. Obviously, the Sooners had a succession plan.

Even though Brent Venables is a defensive-minded head coach, he knew that Lebby would not be for long in Norman, as his day would come to lead his own team. While there may have been other candidates outside of the program, OU opted to promote offensive analyst Seth Littrell and tight ends/H-backs coach Joe Jon Finley from within. Littrell led the North Texas Mean Green previously.

Oklahoma may be Littrell and Finley's alma maters, but these most recent promotions could eventually result in head-coaching jobs else, possibly even at OU should Venables fail at his job.

This promotion is great for Littrell to get back into the spotlight a bit for potentially his next head-coaching gig. However, this promotion does even more for Finley's reputation, as every OU offensive coordinator since 1999 has gone on to be a college football head coach in their coaching careers.

This is an impressive list Finley could one day join, as well as one that could improve Littrell's stock.

Jeff Lebby's replacements are poised to greatness beyond Oklahoma

Whether it is Lebby, Lincoln Riley, Josh Heupel, Mark Mangino or the late, great Mike Leach (RIP), if you have called plays in Norman since Bob Stoops took over for an ineffective John Blake, you are destined to become a college football head coach. Stoops was a defensive-minded coach, but he had a knack at finding great offensive minds to work with, allowing them to achieve all that they could.

While Riley called plays during his five-year run in charge at Norman before bolting for USC, the winning tradition continues under Venables with Lebby's Mississippi State opportunity. Lebby stems from several important coaching trees such as Dabo Swinney's through Venables', Nick Saban's through Lane Kiffin's, and Steve Spurrier's though Stoops', Leach's and his father-in-law, Art Briles'...

Although is father-in-law remains persona non grata in college sports because of what happened at Baylor, Lebby now has a job leading an SEC team that could be much-improved under his guidance right away. A disciple of the Leach/Mumme Air Raid could do wonders in Starkville. The backfilling hires are also fantastic opportunities for both Littrell in the short-term, and eventually for Finley, too.

I would envision that Littrell will call plays first under Venables, but will only be in Norman for a few more years, if that. Should OU turn the SEC upside down, he will be a strong candidate to take over at a Power Five institution come 2025 or 2026. As for Finley, this promotion gives him a chance to be the next great branch to sprout from any of these respective coaching trees. He just needs some time...

Even with a defensive-minded head coach, Oklahoma remains on the cutting edge of college offense.

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