Clemson head coach Brent Venables was pretty stern when he was asked about his name being linked to head coaching vacancies at Arkansas and Mississippi State on Tuesday.
It has been reported by several outlets since Sunday that Venables was a candidate to replace Bret Bielema at Arkansas and then on Monday it was reported that Mississippi State had interest in him becoming their new head coach after Dan Mullen left to be the new head coach at Florida.
“My focus is completely on this game and this week and the great job that I do have and the great players I get to coach every day,” Venables said. “My focus is right here.”
Of course Venables was annoyed by the questions of his future at Clemson because the Tigers are getting ready to play No. 7 Miami in the ACC Championship Game Saturday in Charlotte, N.C.
“Well, since ya’ll bring it up, it is annoying,” Venables said. “I don’t hear about it otherwise, whatever is out there because I just don’t spend any time focused on that.
“I have a got a great job and again, I have said that many, many times. I am very thankful and grateful for that. We are in a great position so why would I be worried about what is on the other side of the fence. I have always felt that way.”
Venables understands when you do a good job others will notice and opportunities are going to open up if he chooses to approach them.
“If people have interest that is part of it. You ether decide to listen or not,” Clemson’s defensive coordinator said. “And though right now, we have a tremendous opportunity this week playing for a championship and my loyalty is here and to my players.”
Currently, Clemson’s defense ranks No. 6 nationally (282.3 ypg) heading into the ACC Championship Game. The Tigers also rank fourth in scoring defense (13.6 ppg), 14th in rushing defense (113.6) and ninth in passing defense (169.7).
The Tigers (11-1) rank third in sacks with 40 and tackles for loss 98.
Last February, Venables signed a new one-year deal worth $1.7 million overall.
Venables’ contract currently ranks second nationally among assistant coaches behind LSU’s Dave Aranda’s $1.8 million as its defensive coordinator.
Last year, Venables led the Clemson Tigers to a fourth straight top-10 season in total defense. The Tigers ranked 8th nationally in total defense and 10th in scoring defense in 2016. He won the Frank Broyles Award last December as the nation’s best assistant coach.