Brent Venables has been heavily linked to the Oklahoma job ever since Lincoln Riley’s decision to leave for Southern California last week left a vacancy there. The primary questions were how serious of a candidate was Clemson’s longtime defensive coordinator and would he actually take this chance to be a head coach if offered?
Both are trending more in OU’s favor.
Venables has emerged as the Sooners’ leading candidate as Riley’s successor to the point that a deal could be finalized as early as Sunday, according to a report from ESPN’s Chris Low. The Clemson Insider can’t confirm whether or not Venables has been offered the job or accepted it at this time, but what we do know is things have changed from where they stood in the middle of last week.
TCI reported then that Venables was a viable candidate for the Sooners’ job and that he would interview for it. As Venables stayed on the road recruiting for Clemson last week — something Clemson coach Dabo Swinney wouldn’t have allowed if he’d known then that Venables was leaving — one source told us they felt better about Venables’ chances of remaining at Clemson, where he’s had a major hand in the Tigers’ success for the last decade as arguably the top defensive coordinator in college football.
But we know Venables has moved at or near the top of OU’s wish list of head coaching candidates since then, which isn’t much of a surprise.
Venables, who’s never been a head coach, has turned down other FBS head coaching opportunities in recent years, but he spent 13 years as a defensive assistant at OU under Bob Stoops before Swinney hired him away in 2012. That included a stint as the Sooners’ defensive coordinator.
Clemson has made Venables the nation’s highest-paid assistant coach, but it may not be enough to keep him beyond this season if he decides the timing and situation are right to lead his own program.
Stay tuned to TCI for more on this developing story.
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