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For the first time since the 2014 season, the Oklahoma Sooners will have a new man running the show on offense after Jeff Lebby was hired to be the offensive coordinator under new head coach Brent Venables.
While Lincoln Riley had a ton of success, his last two seasons left a lot to be desired as the Sooners floundered in Big 12 play, scraping by to win the Big 12 championship in 2020 before falling short in 2021.
From an x’s and o’s standpoint, Lebby’s hire was about as good as it could get. He’s proven capable of directing some of the nation’s top offenses in six seasons as an offensive coordinator (five in the Football Bowl Subdivision).
Runs at UCF and Ole Miss made Jeff Lebby a popular offensive coordinator candidate. His history with Brent Venables and the Oklahoma Sooners provided the connection necessary to bring him in to take over the OU offense.
The following list is how Jeff Lebby’s offenses ranked each season he was the offensive coordinator for his respective team. Most statistics were found via College Football Reference.
2016: Southeastern Fire (NAIA)
No. 1 Scoring Offense
No. 3 Total Offense
2017: UCF Golden Knights
Oct 21, 2017; Annapolis, MD, USA; UCF Knights quarterback McKenzie Milton (10) rolls out to pass during the first quarter against the Navy Midshipmen at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
No. 1 Scoring Offense: 48.2 points per game
No. 5 Total Offense: 530.9 yards per game
No. 10 in Passing Offense: 331.8 yards per game
No. 32 in Rushing Offense: 199.2 yards per game
No. 52 in Plays Ran: 71.1 per game
No. 8 in First Downs: 25.2 per game
2018: UCF Golden Knights
Aug 30, 2018; East Hartford, CT, USA; UCF Knights quarterback McKenzie Milton (10) runs the ball against the Connecticut Huskies in the first quarter at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field. David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
No. 6 Scoring Offense: 43.2 points per game
No. 4 in Total Offense: 523.5 yards per game
No. 37 in Passing Offense: 257.5 yards per game
No. 8 in Rushing Offense: 266.1 yards per game
No. 15 in Plays Ran: 75.8 per game
No. 2 in First Downs: 26.8 per game
2019: UCF Golden Knights
Sep 14, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA; UCF Knights quarterback Dillon Gabriel (11) drops back to pass against the Stanford Cardinal during the third quarter at Spectrum Stadium. Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports
No. 5 Scoring Offense: 43.4 points per game
No. 2 in Total Offense: 541.5 yards per game
No. 8 in Passing Offense: 316.7 yards per game
No. 19 in Rushing Offense: 224.8 yards per game
No. 4 in Plays Ran: 78.1 per game
No. 5 in First Downs: 25.6 per game
2020: Ole Miss Rebels
Nov 14, 2020; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi Rebels quarterback Matt Corral (2) during the first half against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
No. 14 Scoring Offense: 39.2 points per game
No. 3 in Total Offense: 555.9 yards per game
No. 7 in Passing Offense: 344.9 yards per game
No. 26 in Rushing Offense: 211 yards per game
No. 3 in Plays Ran: 79.7 per game
No. 4 in First Downs: 27.6 per game
2021: Ole Miss Rebels
Oct 30, 2021; Auburn, Alabama, USA; Mississippi Rebels quarterback Matt Corral (2) carries the ball against the Auburn Tigers during the third quarter at Jordan-Hare Stadium. John Reed-USA TODAY Sports
No. 24 Scoring Offense: 33.4 points per game
No. 6 in Total Offense: 492.4 yards per game
No. 13 in Passing Offense: 274.4 yards per game
No. 12 in Rushing Offense: 218 yards per game
No. 2 in Plays Ran: 78.2 per game
No. 4 in First Downs: 26.1 per game
Sep 6, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Mississippi Rebels offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby reacts before a game against the Louisville Cardinals at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Lebby’s offense runs a lot of plays. Each of his five seasons as an FBS offensive coordinator saw his offense run an average of 71 plays or more per game. Only once did his offense dip below 75 plays per game, and that was his first season coordinating at UCF.
While his teams are capable of big plays and quick strikes, they mostly resemble a methodical, ball-control team. In addition to running a lot of plays, his offenses typically finished near the top of the rankings in first downs.
Lebby wants to run the ball. The only team that didn’t average 10 or more runs than pass attempts per game was the 2017 UCF squad. He wants to be as effective running the football as he is throwing the football. His offenses at the FBS level ran for more than 200 yards per game all but one season. That year, the UCF Golden Knights ran for 199.2 yards per game.
This offense is going to be good. Despite the change and the roster turnover, Jeff Lebby knows how to coach offense. He’ll maximize the talent here and with a quarterback that’s familiar and has thrived in Lebby’s system in Dillon Gabriel, the Oklahoma Sooners are going to thrive in 2022.