There was a list of questions following Lincoln Riley’s departure from Oklahoma.
One question on that list: how will it impact Marvin Mims future?
There were rumors that the sophomore wide receiver might enter the transfer portal in the days that followed, and he wouldn’t have been the only one. His teammates Spencer Rattler and Austin Stogner found new homes at South Carolina with former OU coach Shane Beamer, and fellow receiver Jadon Haselwood transferred to Arkansas. Several coaches found new jobs elsewhere, too.
Mims admits there was some uncertainty about whether he would stay or choose to transfer.
“Everyone’s different in certain situations like this,” Mims said during a Zoom conference Friday. “People have their reasons for leaving, people have their reasons for staying, but I mean, it’s kind of the unknown. You’re kind of sitting here waiting for people to get hired. You don’t know when it’s going to happen.
“The coaches were in communication with us about a timetable [for a new coach] and stuff like that but at the end of the day, they didn’t really know when it was going to happen either. So most of it was really just sitting and waiting, kind of just working out, doing stuff with the guys that we had, not knowing what’s coming or what’s going to be in the future.”
Though it took a few days, Mims stayed long enough to see Brent Venables hired as the Sooners’ head coach.
Even as an offensive player, Mims was excited about the hiring of a defensive-minded coach. But one thing that also helped him stay was offensive coaches Cale Gundy, DeMarco Murray and Bill Bedenbaugh staying put, too.
“That was a big thing having coach Murray, coach Bedenbaugh, coach Gundy staying,” Mims said. “There’s a lot of interaction with those guys over my two years being here, especially coach Murray, coach Gundy.”
Mims is also excited about the new coaching hires, particularly Jeff Lebby, who Venables hired as his offensive coordinator last week. Under Lebby, Ole Miss finished the regular season as one of the top offenses in the country.
Lebby implemented a spread offensive system at Ole Miss that could really benefit Mims.
“I think [it’s] a huge plus for this program especially with [Lebby’s] experience, his resume, the things he’s done at other colleges,” Mims said. “That’s something that’s a huge positive. He’s also an alumni [of] this school, so that’s another positive for us as a program.
“But I’ve talked to him a couple times, he’s a really cool guy, love his personality, I love how he is, his character.”
Lebby and the new coaching staff could help boost Mims, who didn’t quite match the production from his freshman year. He led the team in receiving yards (648) in the regular season but finished with just 30 catches, seven fewer than last season.
Mims showed flashes of his athleticism and explosiveness at times this season. He caught five passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns against Texas and had a similar performance against Texas Tech a few weeks later, finishing with four catches for 135 yards and two touchdowns.
But the targets weren’t always consistent for Mims, and the Sooners’ offense slowed down to end the regular season. Over the past three games, Mims has caught just four passes for 43 yards.
But with Venables and several new coaches taking over, it’s a fresh start for Mims and the Sooners.
“This is the first time these new coaches have laid eyes on us,” Mims said. “And I know we have things we’ve done in the past they can see, but this is the first time they’ve stood in person, in practice, see how we practice, see how we handle ourselves, see the things we do wrong and see the things we do right. So it’s definitely an audition for everybody that’s out there.”
After Riley left last month, there was some uncertainty with Mims’ future. But he stayed, and hopes the team ends the season strong in the Alamo Bowl later this month.
“It’s the end of the season and it is a new beginning,” Mims said. “We’ve had people gone, people leave, a lot of people leave — players, coaches, all types of stuff — we’ve had new people come in as coaches…
“With coach [Bob] Stoops coaching, it’s going to be great for every player in there. We’re going to go out and give it our all. We want to close out this year strong and have something to look forward to coming back in January when we come back to workouts.”