Oklahoma offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby could be a target for Alabama in the same position if the Crimson Tide lose Bill O’Brien to the NFL this month, according to Pete Thamel. During an interview Wednesday with Paul Finebaum, Thamel floated Lebby’s name as one to watch at Alabama.
“I would think that Nick Saban saw the fits that Tennessee and Josh Heupel gave him this year,” Thamel said, “and offensively, I think they’ll probably trend a little bit and maybe overcorrect a little bit more that way as they go. 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 (in 2020-21 at Ole Miss).
“He’s obviously learned from Lane Kiffin and branched out to Oklahoma last year — to some mixed results in a rebuilding year. But I do think that if the option schematically is to go faster or slower, my expectation is Alabama’s gonna end up going faster.”
Lebby, 39, was a key hire for first-year Oklahoma coach Brent Venables and left a stint with Lane Kiffin at Ole Miss for the Big 12 last offseason. His time with the Rebels were Lebby’s only two years of SEC experience after the former Oklahoma player’s career began as a student assistant in Norman during the 2002 season.
O’Brien is the Patriots’ “primary target” for the NFL franchise’s same position, according to a report by Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston. New England released a transparent statement last week that detailed its pending OC search and a timeline for interviewing candidates, but did not specify potential targets.
O’Brien, who’s on an expiring contract with the Crimson Tide following his second season on staff, has been attached to Bill Belichick’s coaching staff vacancy for weeks and speculation continues to build surrounding his candidacy.
If he departs, that would leave Saban with two coordinator vacancies after Pete Golding was announced this week as the new defensive coordinator at Ole Miss.
Since the NFL’s regular season ended, nearly all the smoke associated with O’Brien’s potential move centers around around the Patriots and his relationship with Belichick. O’Brien has been tied to several other openings around the NFL, but New England appears to be the franchise with its sights set on Alabama’s play caller, according to multiple reports.
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O’Brien has spent the past two seasons with the Crimson Tide and helped Bryce Young win the Heisman during the 2021 campaign. Ahead of Alabama’s Sugar Bowl win over Kansas State, O’Brien said he had not been in contact with the Patriots since he visited New England in the springtime of last year.
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