By AP Photo.
Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables visited Clemson on Saturday to evaluate his interest in becoming the next coordinator for the Tigers. Venables appears to the early leader for the vacancy.
TheClemsonInsider.com spoke with sooner Phil Owens of SoonerFans.com to get more information on coach Venables. Owens has been covering the Oklahoma program for over 15 years, founded the Sooner Spectator Magazine and has attended every home game since 1991.
“He is a Kansas State guy. He played for coach Snyder. He came to Oklahoma when Bob Stoops came here and hired Mike to be on his staff. When Mike left to go to Arizona Brent took control of the defense,” said Owens.
Coach Venables coached the linebackers at Oklahoma as well as being the defensive coordinator. The Sooners defense struggled at times this season.
“He has been a great linebacker coach since he has been here. Even when Oklahoma has had problems defensively they have always had great linebacker. The problem this year was the secondary. The secondary got beat constantly in the games they lost this year. Some of the Oklahoma fans have been in an uproar this season and wouldn’t feel bad if he left,” said Owens.
Are there concerns about Mike Stoops coming back to the defense and taking a lead role?
“Well there has been a lot of speculation that Brent is bad about that, but nothing has been announced about who will do what. The discussion about Brent being demoted and not calling the plays any longer may not be set in stone. The two have worked together for a long time. It has been pretty well know around here for a couple of months that Mike was coming back. It is just a matter of how things will be structured. I really don’t think it is a big ego thing for him. They have worked together ,” said Owens.
With other schools showing interest in Brent head coach Bob Stoops is making an effort to give Brent a raise to keep him at Oklahoma.
“I do know that Bob Stoops went the President and AD to get more money to try to keep him here. He has already turned down the job at West Virginia,” said Owens.
What type of defensive coordinator would the Tigers be getting if they can land Brent?
“They would be getting a real good defensive coordinator. Everyone around here is used to having him around and he is kind of a whipping boy at times, but he is a great defensive coach,” replied Owens.
Clemson would be adding another top recruiter if they could land Venables.
“He is a helluva recruiter. That would hurt Oklahoma pretty quickly. He is definitely one of the top recruiters on the staff,” said Owens.