Littrell, the former North Texas coach who spent 2023 as an analyst at OU, will share coordinator duties with Finley, the Sooners third-year tight ends coach
NORMAN — Brent Venables didn’t have to look far to settle Oklahoma’s offensive coordinator situation.
According to multiple reports Tuesday evening, the Sooners are expected to name analyst Seth Littrell and tight ends coach Joe Jon Finley as co-offensive coordinators for the 2024 season, securing the program’s play-calling situation roughly 48 hours after Jeff Lebby’s departure for Mississippi State. The news was first reported by SoonerScoop.com.
Venables’ choice to promote internally maintains continuity within the program as the transfer portal gets set to open on Dec. 4 and the start of the early signing period waiting on Dec. 20. It is not yet clear who will call plays for OU in 2024.
Littrell, the former North Texas coach and a 2000 national champion at OU, spent the 2023 season as an offensive analyst with the Sooners. Finley, who played for OU from 2004-07, is closing his third season as the Sooners’ tight ends coach.
The offensive duo takes over a unit that stood among the most productive in the nation in 2023 as OU prepares to step into a new era on offense in 2024.
The Sooners closed their second regular season with Lebby in the booth ranked third in the country in scoring and first downs per game, fourth in total yardage and sixth in passing yards with Dillon Gabriel under center. The 2024 campaign is likely to see Jackson Arnold contend for the starting role, leaving the former five-star quarterback in hands of Littrell and Finley as OU dives into the SEC.
In Littrell, 45, the Sooners have a Mike Leach disciple, a former head coach and a coordinator with a near decade of play-calling experience on his resume.
Littrell, a captain on OU’s 2000 national championship team, appeared in 45 games as a fullback for the Sooners and landed back in Norman earlier this year after seven seasons in charge at North Texas. The Muskogee native holds previous play-calling experience in roles at Arizona (2010-11), Indiana (2012-13) and North Carolina (2014-15), and also called plays for a portion of his time with the Mean Green.
Litrell overlapped with Venables during the final two seasons of his playing career in 1999 and 2000.
“(He’s) a guy that’s been around the country and been a head football coach and did a fantastic job while he was at North Texas,” Venables said of Littrell after his hiring in March. “And (he’s) one of my favorite players that I didn’t coach (directly) per se. One of my favorite players; a guy I love having in the locker room.”
Litrell began his career in coaching as a graduate assistant at Kansas from 2002-04 and landed his first assistant role as a running backs coach for four seasons under Mike Leach at Texas Tech starting in 2005. Littrell joined Mark Stoops at Arizona in 2009 before taking over play-calling duties in 2010 and 2011.
At Indiana, Littrell oversaw a Hoosiers’ offense that ranked ninth in total offense in 2013. In his second season at North Carolina in 2015, the Tar Heels averaged 41.2 points per game and finished 11th in the country. With North Texas, Littrell took the Mean Green from 117th in total offense in his debut season in 2016 to eighth nationally in 2020.
Littrell was fired at North Texas following the 2022 seasons, leaving Denton with a 44-44 record and six bowl appearances in seven seasons. His father Jim won a pair of national titles as a fullback at OU from 1973-75.
The 38-year-old Finley stands among the Sooners’ top assistants in his third season back at OU. A tight end under Bob Stoops, Finley has charted a fast rise in coaching and has been viewed as a future offensive coordinator.
Finley’s first assistant role came coaching tight ends at Missouri from 2016-18 before he took the same role at Texas A&M in 2019. Finley spent the 2020 as Ole Miss’ passing game coordinator and was hired onto Lincoln Riley’s staff before the 2021 season.