An ESPN writer/analyst weighed in this week on former Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables heading to Oklahoma to become the Sooners’ next head coach.
ESPN’s Andrea Adelson joined the Gramlich and Mac Lain podcast with Kelly Gramlich and Eric Mac Lain to discuss what losing Venables means for Clemson moving forward.
Adelson was asked if the Tigers, whose streak of six straight College Football Playoff appearances came to an end this season, can get back to the playoff without Venables on board the coaching staff.
“Absolutely,” Adelson said. “They still have the most talented team in the ACC. Let’s start off by saying that. Look, this is no knock on Pitt or Wake or NC State – but Clemson does have the most talent in the ACC, and they’ll probably have the most talent coming back in the ACC. I know their recruiting class right now is maybe a couple spots below North Carolina, but it’s about where they usually are.”
While Adelson believes Clemson will return to its accustomed position of competing in the College Football Playoff, even minus Venables, she also acknowledged it’s a “significant loss” for Dabo Swinney and his program.
“The bigger question with Venables is there are some people who believe that he was like a co-head coach with Dabo, that they were so in sync with everything that they were doing – with the way that they handled the players and the team – it was like two guys, one mind,” Adelson said. “Now, their personalities couldn’t be any different. But, in terms of what they brought to the table, that’s going to be a significant loss because I think Dabo relied on Brent to do a lot more than just be the defensive coordinator.”
After news broke Sunday that Venables was leaving for Oklahoma, former longtime Clemson sports information director Tim Bourret opined on Twitter that Venables “has been the most significant assistant coach in any sport in Clemson athletics history.”
“But Clemson will be able to go out and hire anybody that they want. They’ll have the money to do that,” she said. “Clemson’s never been shy to spend money, to bring in who they believe is needed. And as Tim Bourret said, there’s no more significant hire as an assistant in Clemson history than Brent Venables. 100 percent agreed.”
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