The excitement continues to mount for the Brent Venables era of Oklahoma football. The same can be said about the addition of Jeff Lebby as the new Offensive Coordinator.
The common assumption among Sooner fans is that the defense will get better under the leadership of Venables and proven success and the offense, while still very prolific, could take a step back. However, that is not Lebby’s view.
Lebby showed his rising star as the Offensive Coordinator at Ole Miss for the past two seasons. He brings an exciting, explosive and highly productive attack of sorts to Oklahoma, after showing his mastery over Ole Miss., a team without the depth of talent or offensive weaponry that Oklahoma has had in the past.
The career path that led Lebby back to Oklahoma (he is a graduate of OU) includes stops at Baylor, Southeast (Florida)), UCF, and Ole Miss. Before that, Lebby learned the offensive tricks of the trade as a student assistant in Oklahoma from 2002 -20006.
Unlike under Lincoln Riley, who while serving as head coach of the Sooners, also retained his role as offensive coordinator and called on all offensive plays, Venables never hesitated to have an offensive and defensive coordinator separate from head coach responsibilities.
Many thought Oklahoma’s offensive struggles and inconsistencies over the past two seasons were largely the result of Riley trying to do too much in filling multiple coaching roles.
Lebby showed an offensive blast during the two seasons he was with Ole Miss, including developing quarterback Matt Correl into one of the best quarterbacks in the nation and a future first-round draft pick.
“For Lebby going to OU, honestly, it just made me really happy because I know him as a person and what he wanted to do when he grew up,” Correl said.
Another popular quarterback name, Dillion Gabriel was under the tutelage of Jeff Lebby at UCF from 2018-2019. The pair hope to resume their offensive effectiveness in Oklahoma.
While at UCF, Lebby and Gabriel caused an explosion in the AAC conference, combining RPOs and an air strike to keep the opponent’s defense close behind. In 2019, Lebby’s offense finished second in nation’s total offense (541.5 yards per game), led by Dillion Gabriel, who was the fresh face of college football at the time.
The Golden Knights finished fifth in the nation in fouls scoring (43.4) in the 2019 season and eighth in passing fouls (316.7).
Lebby’s success at UCF brought him to Ole Miss, where he was paired with another offensive mastermind in Rebels’ head coach Lane Kiffin. Lebby’s magic hand immediately hit Ole Miss’s offense. In 2020, the Rebels finished third in the nation in total offense (555.9 yards per game), and seventh in the nation in passing offense (344.9 yards per game).
Ole Miss’s offensive offense was led by Field General Corral, who inherited Lebby and last season developed into one of the top quarterbacks in the nation and a Heisman contender. In 2021, Ole Miss was sixth in the nation in total offense (492.5 yards per game. In comparison, the Oklahoma offense was 18th in the nation (450.1 yards per game) last season).
Now Lebby brings his swift, fearless and physical attack to Norman, under Brent Venables.
Oklahoma has shown offensive firepower year after year, and Lebby hopes to expand that armament.
The Sooners are bringing back key offensive playmakers in WR’s Marvin Mims, Theo Wease and Brayden Willis, and RB’s Eric Gray and Marcus Major. The exciting freshman class will be intriguing to watch under Lebby’s system, especially WR Jayden Gibson and RB’s Gavin Sawchuk and Jovantae Barnes.
Anticipation grows for Jeff Lebby and what he can accomplish as the Oklahoma offensive coordinator.