‘One name I’ve heard is Jeff Lebby’: ESPN’s Pete Thamel on potential Alabama OC opening

With a potential divorce looming between the Alabama Crimson Tide and offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, one of the most coveted jobs in the country could be opening up in a matter of days. According to a report from Pro Football Talk, O’Brien has become the primary target for the New England Patriots offensive coordinator job.

On “The Paul Finebaum Show,” ESPN’s Pete Thamel mentioned Jeff Lebby as a potential candidate to replace O’Brien.

“I would think that Nick Saban saw the fits that Tennessee and Josh Heupel gave him this year, and offensively, I think they’ll probably trend a little bit and maybe overcorrect a little bit more that way as they go,” Thamel shared with Finebaum. Now, I’m not saying they’re gonna turn into the Baylor offense from the mid-2000s. But one name I’ve heard is (Jeff Lebby), the Oklahoma offensive coordinator. He’s obviously had success in the SEC West footprint.”

If O’Brien’s time is indeed up at Alabama, Nick Saban will have a line out the door of candidates lining up to replace him. While some Sooners fans have had their fill of Jeff Lebby after his first season back in Oklahoma, the young offensive mind would be a massive loss for Brent Venables and the program.

Lebby spearheaded Jackson Arnold’s and many other recruitments. If Lebby did leave, Arnold and others could possibly follow him. Now that would be bad.

Though the Alabama job would be very attractive to a number of coordinators, there are a number of reasons why it’s more likely Lebby sticks around Norman.

Jeff Lebby is a very well-paid man. He’s one of the highest-paid assistant coaches in college football and will earn $1.9 million in 2023. He has two years left on his contract, and Alabama would have to pay a pretty penny to acquire his services.

Next, the family angle. Lebby is a married man and has changed jobs and locations four times since 2016. Is he really going to leave Oklahoma, his dream job, and move again? His relationships with the coaching staff and the university would make it unlikely he’d leave the Sooners in a lateral move.

The Sooners will also be moving to the SEC quite soon, perhaps as early as 2024. Lebby will be an SEC offensive coordinator soon enough. No need to jump to Alabama if being in the SEC is a draw.

Nick Saban could very well come calling for Jeff Lebby’s services, but this doesn’t feel like the right timing. Dillon Gabriel’s returned for another season with Lebby and the Sooners. Jackson Arnold and a number of other 2023 early enrollees just arrived on campus.

He will be getting head coaching offers somewhere down the line. Until then, he’s got a great gig in Norman and an offense that is doing some really good things.

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