By Adam Brown
Ole Miss head football coach Lane Kiffin has hit the ground running since arriving in Oxford on Sunday evening after naming three members to his staff on Thursday.
Kiffin has named Jeff Lebby as the offensive coordinator and Kevin Smith and Wilson Love as assistants on his staff.
Lebby will join the Rebels after spending the last two seasons with the University of Central Florida Knights. He joined UCF’s program in December 2017 as a quarterback coach before being promoted to offensive coordinator prior to the start of the 2019 season.
Under Lebby’s direction this season, UCF ranks fourth nationally in total offense (536.6) – the most in program history. The Knights also rank sixth in scoring (43.0), racking up 40 or more points in seven of their eight contests.
Only two teams in the country are averaging more than 300 yards passing and 200 yards rushing per game this season; Lebby’s UCF offense and No. 4 Oklahoma. Lebby found immediate success in his first season in 2018, helping lead the Knights to their second straight undefeated regular season—another American Athletic Conference Championship—a berth in the 2019 Fiesta Bowl and a national ranking as high as seventh.
He tutored McKenzie Milton, who threw for 2,662 yards and 25 touchdowns on his way to his second American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year honor. Milton finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy voting.
Lebby came to Orlando (2017) after one season as offensive coordinator at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida. He helped lead Southeastern to a 5-0 conference mark and a berth in the NAIA playoffs. Southeastern had the No. 1 scoring offense and the No. 3 total offense in the NAIA in 2017.
Smith and Love have been with Kiffin since his time after FAU.
Smith was the running back coach for Kiffin with the Owls. Prior to him arriving in Boca Raton, the FAU running backs only had two seasons that tallied the 2,000-yard mark in program history. He mentored the Owls’ running backs to three straight 2,000-yard rushing efforts.
Under Smith’s tutelage at FAU, Devin Singletary became the first running back in NCAA history to score 29 touchdowns in a season since Smith did it himself as a star at UCF. Singletary, whose 33 total TDs rank third all-time in single-season touchdowns, was named C-USA’s MVP in Smith’s first year at FAU.
The 2017 FAU running back ranked No. 6 nationally in rushing yards per game (285.3). The No. 6 national ranking was a jump of 45 spots from the previous year. Singletary and Kerrith Whyte, Jr. were both drafted in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Smith is no stranger to rushing records. The Miami native set 17 school rushing records at UCF, including an FBS single-season record with 450 carries and 13, 100-yard performances in 2007.
After earning first-team All-America honors his junior season at UCF, Smith was selected in the 2008 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions in the third round. He went on to play five years for the Lions, amassing 17 rushing touchdowns while battling injuries during his career.
Love comes to Ole Miss as the head football strength and conditioning coach after three seasons with Kiffin at FAU in the same role.
Love came to FAU after serving two seasons, 2015 and 2016, as an assistant football strength and conditioning coach at Alabama, where he also worked with Kiffin. The Tide captured the NCAA National Championship in 2015 and played for the title in 2016.
Love’s first season as a strength and conditioning coach provided him the opportunity to work with Ryan Kelly, a 2016 first-round draft pick by the Indianapolis Colts, and second-rounders Jarran Reed, who was taken by Seattle, and Detroit Lions defensive end A’Shawn Robinson.
Prior to his position as a strength and conditioning coach, Love served one year as a defensive graduate assistant (2014). The one-year stint provided the Alabama native the opportunity to work with the Tide’s defensive line while being mentored by head coach Nick Saban and defensive coordinator Kirby Smart. The 2014 season, his first as a coach, Alabama captured the SEC Championship.
Kiffin is still in the process of putting together the rest of his staff.