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College football: Brent Venables', Mark Stoops' squads face off Saturday in Clemson vs. Florida State

by Berry Tramel Published: September 21, 2012
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photo - Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops, left, and Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables will face off on Saturday. Photos from The Oklahoman Archives and AP
Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops, left, and Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables will face off on Saturday. Photos from The Oklahoman Archives and AP

Two defensive coordinators near and dear to Bob Stoops' heart are in the crosshairs of college football's biggest game Saturday.

Clemson's Brent Venables, who spent 18 of the last 21 years playing for, coaching with or coaching for Stoops. And Florida State's Mark Stoops, who grew up on Detroit Avenue in Youngstown, Ohio, the youngest of the four brothers who grew up to be college coaches.

“I'll have to DVR it,” said Bob Stoops, whose Sooners play Kansas State in the only other game Saturday matching top-25 teams.

Mark Stoops' Seminole defense has not allowed a touchdown this season, but Florida State hasn't played its usual tough schedule. Florida State has beaten Murray State 69-3, Savannah State 55-0 and Wake Forest 52-0.

Venables' Clemson defense hasn't been nearly that stingy, but anything looks good to the Tigers after their 70-33 Orange Bowl loss to West Virginia. That game cost defensive coordinator Kevin Steele his job, and to replace him, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney hired Venables away from OU.

Clemson has beaten Auburn 26-19, Ball State 52-27 and Furman 41-7.

This is the first game since 2007 matching two ACC teams ranked in the top 10. Venables is an ACC newcomer, but he's well-versed in the Seminoles.

OU beat Florida State 47-17 two years ago in Norman and 23-13 last September in Tallahassee.

“It's certainly better than not knowing anything, coming in blind, that's for sure,” Venables said.

“Having been in the venue down there last year, it'll be the same type of setting. Fantastic atmosphere, very intense atmosphere, and a lot will be on the line. That's exciting, the challenge of it, thinking about it.

“A lot of coaches and players play in this profession and don't have the opportunity to be on that kind of stage.”

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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