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Offensive Coordinator Names to Watch

A "Hot Board" of sorts, including names from within and outside the program. With plenty of options, which direction will OU go?

While rumors swirl after the departure of offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby to lead Mississippi State, offensive analyst Seth Littrell is a hard name to ignore, as many have pegged him as a likely leading candidate. While we have heard similar things, we have not gotten any confirmation on an offer or any sort of indication from either side. Littrell has both offensive coordinator and head coaching experience, last serving as head coach at UNT prior to arriving in Norman. More on Littrell in a bit.

Should head coach Brent Venables and OU go the in-house route, Matt Wells could be another name to surface as a leading candidate. Wells has also been on staff as an analyst, joining the program after Lebby got hired two offseasons ago. And like Littrell, Wells has head coaching experience, spending six seasons at Utah State before leading Texas Tech for three seasons (2019-2021), eventually being let go.

But as we sit fresh off the announcement of Lebby to Starkville, all of the sudden, this job has become a destination job. In just two seasons, Brent Venables had his offensive coordinator leave for a head coaching position in the SEC. Any offensive coordinator in the country not in line for a major coaching position could – and probably should – be calling, and OU should be calling them. Venables is sitting in this unique position, and it would only harm if Venables and Joe Castiglione did not at least do their due diligence.

OU is a blue blood program, which means you should be recruiting top talent at every position, particularly in the skill spots. With that, the best approach is most likely a scheme that takes advantage of that talent in every way possible. So when you are in the SEC and you are playing Alabama or Georgia, and they have a great LB or CB, you should have the flexibility within the scheme to attack them in any area where you have a strength, and with formations and personnel groupings you should be able to create some of those situations. This schematic flexibility is lost on systems like the veer and shoot under Lebby, or the go-go offense that will be explained below.

How fast will this go down? We have no indication of a time frame, but in the era of the portal, and with signing day closing fast and a few holes still to feel, you would think OU would want to move rather quickly. We’re including a name on here – Will Stein – that may seem like a stretch, and could be potentially out of the running by reasoning of success alone, as his Oregon Ducks squad is playing this weekend in a win-and-in scenario vs. Washington. But it is notable that Stein is only making $800,000 this season, a number that Oregon would undoubtedly move up as needed if a program like OU came calling.

The In-House Candidates

Seth Littrell

Age: 45

Current Position: OU – Offensive Analyst (2023-present)

Previous Stops:

  • Texas Tech (2005-2008) – Running backs coach
  • Arizona (2009) – Running backs/Tight ends coach
  • Arizona (2010) – Co-Offensive coordinator, Running backs/Tight ends coach
  • Arizona (2011) – Offensive coordinator, Running backs/Tight ends coach
  • Indiana (2012-2013) – Offensive coordinator, Fullbacks/Tight ends coach
  • North Carolina (2014-2015) – Associate Head Coach, Offensive coordinator, Tight ends coach
  • North Texas (2016-2022) – Head Coach

Playing Career:

Position: Fullback
Oklahoma (1997-2000)

2022 Stats (UNT)

Points Per Game31.831st
Points Per Play0.45725th
Yards Per Game450.625th
Yards Per Play6.515th
Rushing Yards Per Game188.533rd
Yards Per Rush5.027th
Passing Yards Per Game262.236th
Completion Percentage56.02%105th
Yards Per Pass Attempt8.414th
Average Team Passer Rating143.336th
3rd Down Conversion42.78%33rd
Red Zone Scoring87.23%36th
Time of Possession27:21118th

Pros and Cons

Littrell has been an offensive coordinator or head coach for over a decade, and it’s hard to find a better roster of coaches than the names he has worked under. The former Sooner has worked on the staffs of Mike Leach (TTU), Kevin Wilson (Indiana), and Larry Fedora (UNC), as well as working experience with Bill Bedenbaugh (Arizona), giving Littrell a wide range of offensive philosophies to draw from.

In addition to his time as a coordinator, Littrell spent seven seasons leading the North Texas program, coaching the Mean Green to 9 wins twice, a feat that had only been matched two other times since 1978. Much of the game management has likely been learned, something that OU fans pointed out as a flaw under Jeff Lebby.

It’s likely that Littrell would implement his “Power-Spread” aka 21-spread offensive attack, something more along the lines of what Kevin Wilson morphed his offense into while at Oklahoma, using a lot of two tight end sets and a power run game blended with some of the usual spread concepts in the passing game seen under Leach at Tech and under Fedora at UNC.

One drawback to Littrell’s history is the fact that none of his offenses have ever hit “elite” status. Is that personnel limitations, or poor strategy? The talent at Oklahoma, especially with Jackson Arnold at the helm, would easily surpass any group he’s coached before. And he’s familiar with Arnold and the personnel and what this group has been doing over the last season.

Another potential drawback? Littrell has no history of coaching quarterbacks, likely ushering in another change in the offensive coaching room.

Matt Wells

Age: 50

Current Position: OU – Offensive Analyst (2022-present)

Previous Stops:

  • Navy (1997-2001) – Quarterbacks coach, Fullbacks coach, Wide receiver coach
  • Tulsa (2002-2006) – Tight ends coach, Run game coordinator
  • New Mexico (2007-2008) – Wide receiver coach, Run game coordinator
  • Louisville (2009) – Quarterbacks coach, Passing game coordinator
  • New Mexico (2010) – Wide receivers coach
  • Utah State (2011) – Quarterbacks coach, Run game coordinator
  • Utah State (2012) – Offensive coordinator, Quarterbacks coach
  • Utah State (2013-2018) – Head coach
  • Texas Tech (2019-2021) – Head coach

Playing Career:

Position: Quarterback
Utah State (1993-1996)

2012 Stats (Utah State)

Points Per Game35.025th
Points Per Play0.50715th
Yards Per Game460.724th
Yards Per Play6.76th
Rushing Yards Per Game199.127th
Yards Per Rush5.74th
Passing Yards Per Game261.641st
Completion Percentage66.50%16th
Yards Per Pass Attempt8.021st
Average Team Passer Rating149.816th
3rd Down Conversion43.79%36th
Red Zone Scoring85.42%30th
Time of Possession27:31112th

Pros and Cons

With nine years of head coaching experience (three at the Power 5 level), Wells is the most seasoned member of this entire list as far as resumes go. But on the flip side, how much play calling experience does he have? According to his resume, he has been a run game coordinator for seven seasons, as well as passing game coordinator for his one year stint at Louisville. But 2012 appears to be his only season as a full-on playcaller, leading Utah State to some respectable numbers (above).

It is certainly possible that Wells had his hand in a lot of game planning and perhaps even playcalling post ascension to head coach at Utah State. But as head coach, Wells was certainly relatively successful at his alma mater. Assuming control of the Aggies in 2013, one season after Gary Anderson won 11 games and the Potato Bowl prior to leaving for the head job at Wisconsin, Wells won 19 games and two bowls (Poinsettia and New Mexico) in his first two seasons. And after a dip from 2015-2017, Wells brought the Aggies back to 11 wins in 2018 before departing for Lubbock prior to the bowl game.

One major note that Wells can hang his hat on, he recruited and developed now-Green Bay quarterback Jordan Love during Love’s first three seasons in Logan. In Wells’ last season as head coach, Love broke the school record for passing yards in a season while throwing 32 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions. One season later, Love was the 26th overall selection in the NFL draft.

Unlike Littrell, Wells has experience coaching quarterbacks. Could Littrell take playcalling duties while Wells and fellow analyst JP Losman help handle quarterbacks with the new NCAA rules?

The Outside Candidates

Will Stein

Age: 34

Current Position: Oregon- Offensive Coordinator, Quarterbacks Coach (2023-present)

Previous Stops:

  • Louisville (2013) – Grad assistant
  • Louisville (2014) – Quality control
  • Texas (2015-2017) – Quality control
  • Lake Travis High School (2018-2019) – Associate head coach, Offensive coordinator, Quarterbacks coach
  • UTSA (2020-2021) – Passing game coordinator, Wide receivers coach
  • UTSA (2022) – Co-Offensive coordinator, Quarterbacks coach

Playing Career:

Position: Quarterback
Louisville (2008-2012)

2023 Stats (Oregon)

SP+ Offensive Ranking44.81st
KFord Offensive Ranking1st
Points Per Game42.03rd
Points Per Play0.6093rd
Yards Per Game524.22nd
Yards Per Play7.62nd
Rushing Yards Per Game175.538th
Yards Per Rush5.56th
Passing Yards Per Game348.71st
Completion Percentage77.50%1st
Yards Per Pass Attempt9.65th
Average Team Passer Rating186.62nd
3rd Down Conversion52.76%3rd
Red Zone Scoring85.71%49th
Time of Possession31:2234th

Pros and Cons

We are including Stein because of two factors: probably the best young offensive coordinator in college football (#1 overall in SP+ at 34 years old), and he only makes $800,000 at Oregon. Phil Knight likely wouldn’t be shy about doubling (or even tripling) that amount overnight if Oklahoma came calling, but it does open the door for a conversation.

Stein spent some time at Lake Travis in Austin before jumping to UTSA to direct the Road Runners passing attack. After just three seasons in San Antonio, Stein was tapped to be Dillingham’s successor at Oregon under Dan Lanning. Bo Nix and the Ducks did not miss a beat after Dillingham left for Arizona State, finishing the season at the top or near the top of every major statistical category. Not only that, Nix is on pace to set the college football record for completion percentage in a season at a very impressive 78.6%.

At UTSA, Stein guided Frank Harris to a stellar 2022 season, finishing 2nd in the country with 4,453 total yards of offense and 40 total touchdowns. Harris finished the season with a 71.1% completion percentage (3rd) and a 167.37 passer rating (7th) for the Road Runners.

Cons? Probably the least attainable coach on this list. And likely a one year rental, as Stein is already fielding calls for head coaching positions.

Willy Korn

Age: 34

Current Position: Liberty – Co-Offensive Coordinator, Quarterbacks Coach (2023-present)

Previous Stops:

  • Charleston Southern (2013) – Wide receivers coach
  • Charleston Southern (2014-2016) – Wide receivers coach, Run Game coordinator
  • Coastal Carolina (2017-2018) – Wide receivers coach
  • Coastal Carolina (2019-2022) – Co-Offensive coordinator, Quarterbacks coach

Playing Career:

Position: Quarterback
Clemson (2007-2009)
North Greenville (2010-2011)

2023 Stats (Liberty)

SP+ Offensive Ranking37.311th
KFord Offensive Ranking11th
Points Per Game40.15th
Points Per Play0.5599th
Yards Per Game498.54th
Yards Per Play7.07th
Rushing Yards Per Game295.41st
Yards Per Rush5.92nd
Passing Yards Per Game203.189th
Completion Percentage56.30%101st
Yards Per Pass Attempt9.64th
Average Team Passer Rating170.64th
3rd Down Conversion49.28%9th
Red Zone Scoring85.45%53rd
Time of Possession34:021st

Pros and Cons

Reminds Kyle Dahlgren a bit of Lincoln Riley in both ascension and scheme. Hardly known up to this point, Korn is a fast riser who has attached himself to the right people on the way up. He has been receiving great tutelage from one of the top offensive minds in the business while working with Jamey Chadwell at Coastal Carolina and now Liberty. Korn is joined by previous fellow Co-OC Newland Issac, and the trio have carried over their spread system to Liberty.

Korn has had success coaching quarterbacks, having helped develop Grayson McCall into a top quarterback, including a college football record 207.6 QBR in 2021. With Korn has his QB coach, McCall threw for 8,061 yards, 77 touchdowns, and only 8 interceptions over three seasons (2020-2022). After Korn’s departure, McCall has struggled, starting only 7 games this season with 6 interceptions and a career worst 148.7 QBR while dealing with injury.

How much of Coastal and Liberty’s success can be attributed to Korn? It’s an important question, as Chadwell has gotten a lot of credit for his innovative take on the spread option offense with veer and shoot concepts. Can Korn carry over that type of success to a different program outside of Chadwell’s influence?

And just like Lebby, Korn could be looking for a head job within a season or two.

Andy Ludwig

Age: 59

Current Position: Utah- Offensive Coordinator (2019-present)

Previous Stops:

  • Portland State (1987-1988) – Wide receivers coach
  • Idaho State (1989-1991) – Quarterbacks coach, Wide receivers coach
  • Utah (1992) – Grad assistant
  • Augustana (SD) (1993-1994) – Offensive coordinator, Wide receivers coach, Quarterbacks coach
  • Boise State (1995-1996) – Quarterbacks coach
  • Cal Poly (1997) – Offensive coordinator
  • Fresno State (1998-2001) – Offensive coordinator
  • Oregon (2002-2004) – Offensive coordinator
  • Utah (2005-2008) – Offensive coordinator
  • California (2009-2010) – Offensive coordinator, Quarterbacks coach
  • San Diego State (2011-2012) – Offensive coordinator
  • Wisconsin (2013-2014) – Offensive coordinator, Quarterbacks coach
  • Vanderbilt (2015) – Offensive coordinator, Quarterbacks coach
  • Vanderbilt (2016-2017) – Offensive coordinator, Tight ends coach
  • Vanderbilt (2018) – Offensive coordinator, Running backs coach
  • Utah (2019-present) – Offensive coordinator

Playing Career:

Position: Wide Receiver
Snow College (1982-1983)
Portland State (1985-1986)

2023 Stats (Utah)

SP+ Offensive Ranking27.460th
KFord Offensive Ranking57th
Points Per Game23.983rd
Points Per Play0.34282nd
Yards Per Game354.086th
Yards Per Play5.190th
Rushing Yards Per Game182.228th
Yards Per Rush4.459th
Passing Yards Per Game171.8116th
Completion Percentage57.00%94th
Yards Per Pass Attempt6.5101st
Average Team Passer Rating120.895th
3rd Down Conversion41.92%41st
Red Zone Scoring83.33%72nd
Time of Possession33:293rd

Pros and Cons

Ludwig is the oldest member of this list at 59 years old, and with no real history of head coaching interest, he could be a guy that sticks around longer than some of the younger candidates. Although, one look at his resume shows that is not all that likely after all. But Ludwig has found some stability at his last two stints, spending four years at Vanderbilt before a five year stretch (to current) at Utah.

While the numbers above aren’t pretty, it is worth noting that he was without Cam Rising for the entirety of 2023, who was out dealing with ACL recovery. What Ludwig WAS able to accomplish in light of that this season is nothing short of great. Bryson Barnes handled most of the snaps at QB (229 attempts, 74 rushing attempts), while dual threat Nate Johnson accounted for 72 attempts and 59 carries on the season. Utah also dealt with injuries at running back, leaving Ludwig to resort to using safety Sione Vaki for a couple of games (42 total carries). Ludwig did what he could.

While at Vandy under Derek Mason, Ludwig completely turned around a woeful offensive unit. In the year prior to his arrival, Vandy finished 104th in SP+. The following four seasons, Ludwig’s unit finished the season 119th, 89th, 41st, and 24th, respectively, before Utah hired him away.

At Utah, Ludwig continued with similar results, turning around a program that was 45th prior to his arrival, leading the Utes to 16th, 18th, 14th, and 25th over his first four seasons before finishing 60th this year without Rising.

Ludwig is a west coast guy, spending almost all of his career outside of Vandy and a brief stint at Wisconsin out west. Could he feel at home at Oklahoma, or would the pull of home catch up to him?

Brennan Marion

Age: 36

Current Position: UNLV – Offensive Coordinator, Quarterbacks Coach (2023-present)

Previous Stops:

  • Arizona State (2015) – Offensive quality control assistant
  • Oklahoma Baptist (2016) – Running backs coach
  • Howard (2017–2018) – Offensive coordinator & quarterbacks coach
  • William & Mary (2019) – Offensive coordinator & quarterbacks coach
  • Hawaii (2020) – Wide receivers coach
  • Pittsburgh (2021) – Wide receivers coach
  • Texas (2022) – Pass game coordinator & wide receivers coach
  • UNLV (2023–present) – Offensive coordinator & quarterbacks coach

Playing Career:

Position: Wide Receiver
Foothill College (2005)
De Anza College (2006)
Tulsa (2007-2008)

Notable: Marion has the NCAA record for yards per catch in a season (31.9) and for a career (28.7)

2023 Stats (UNLV)

SP+ Offensive Ranking32.330th
KFord Offensive Ranking34th
Points Per Game34.718th
Points Per Play0.49616th
Yards Per Game427.129th
Yards Per Play6.130th
Rushing Yards Per Game180.531st
Yards Per Rush4.550th
Passing Yards Per Game246.652nd
Completion Percentage63.31%38th
Yards Per Pass Attempt8.817th
Average Team Passer Rating147.833rd
3rd Down Conversion50.00%5th
Red Zone Scoring93.62%9th
Time of Possession29:3373rd

Pros and Cons

A plus recruiter (notable: Johntay Cook, Texas; DeAndre Moore Jr., Texas) with positive returns, including a five-star in his single year at Texas.

Also a plus developer; Marion Coached Jordan Addison at Pittsburg in 2021, helping Addison win the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s best receiver.

Marion’s history of playcalling is brief, having called plays at the FBS level for the first time this past season with UNLV (stats above). He did spend three seasons between Howard and William & Mary as offensive coordinator from 2017-2019, so there is some notable prior history, but as of today, it could be considered green.

UNLV did have an impressive showing on offense under Marion, helping lead the team to a 9-3 regular season record, and the Runnin’ Rebels are likely going to win the Mountain West this season. And in his first season as Quarterbacks coach, Marion has led freshman QB Jayden Maiava to an impressive first season: 64.1 % on 290 attempts for 2626 yards (9.1 yards per attempt), 14 touchdowns to 6 interceptions, and a QB rating of 152.0.

Marion also runs a unique scheme, labeled the “go-go offense.” On the surface, it seems gimmicky – striving for 2 minute offensive drives in an effort to create a “5th quarter” to wear down defenses. The system also incorporates a lot of RPO using two back sets, with both backs often aligned to one side of the QB. It’s hard to argue with the results under Marion using this system in his lone season at UNLV, taking them from 96th to 30th in SP+ offense in one season. But how would this type of offense work in the SEC? It’s a huge question mark.

It’s a risk with upside, but you would likely have some similar growing pains people were sick of under Jeff Lebby. And he’s definitely in line for a head coaching position sooner than later.

Kirby Moore

Age: 34

Current Position: Missouri – Offensive Coordinator, Quarterbacks Coach (2023-present)

Previous Stops:

  • College of Idaho (2014) – Wide receivers coach
  • Washington (2015-2016) – Grad assistant
  • Fresno State (2017-2019) – Wide receivers coach
  • Fresno State (2020-2021) – Passing game coordinator, Wide receivers coach
  • Fresno State (2022) – Offensive coordinator, Quarterbacks coach

Playing Career:

Position: Wide Receiver
Boise State (2009-2013)

Notable: Marion has the NCAA record for yards per catch in a season (31.9) and for a career (28.7)

2023 Stats (Mizzou)

SP+ Offensive Ranking36.712th
KFord Offensive Ranking14th
Points Per Game34.020th
Points Per Play0.49715th
Yards Per Game441.821st
Yards Per Play6.514th
Rushing Yards Per Game165.455th
Yards Per Rush4.544th
Passing Yards Per Game276.528th
Completion Percentage65.26%26th
Yards Per Pass Attempt9.213th
Average Team Passer Rating159.312th
3rd Down Conversion43.36%33rd
Red Zone Scoring100.0%1st
Time of Possession30:1459th

Pros and Cons

Yet another young up and coming signal caller on this list. Kirby, the younger brother of now-LA Chargers offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, is the son of a coach, a product of a football family. He likely draws a lot of influence from his brother, someone who has had a few seasons of high success at the NFL level while in Dallas.

In just his second season as a playcaller, Moore led the Missouri offense to one of the best in the country, which helped Mizzou finish the regular season ranked in the top 10 for the first time since 2013, when Gary Pinkel won the Cotton Bowl and finished the season ranked 5th. Mizzou is currently ranked 9th and is likely a shoe-in for a New Years Six bowl, their first since that same 2013 season.

Mizzou quarterback Brady Cook also took a giant step forward in his first season under Moore, improving his completion percentage from 64.8 to 66.4, yards from 2,739 to 3,189, yards per attempt from 7.2 to 9.5, touchdowns from 14 to 20, interceptions from 7 to 6, and QBR from 133.2 to a respectable 158.1.

With Moore, would he be looking to head to the NFL like his brother? Or would he be a flight risk to join Kellen in Boise if Kellen takes the open Boise State head coaching job? Either way, it could be a short stint at OU before moving to the next stop, a common theme with these younger up and comers.

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