OU football: Venables becoming vocal leader
This is going to sound strange, but Brent Venables is becoming a vocal leader for the Sooner football team. I know, I know, how can a 40-year-old defensive coordinator, a 12-year member of Bob Stoops’ staff, be a vocal leader. Or, if he can be, how could he not be before?
But the truth about the Stoops Era is that while Stoops allowed his coaches to talk about anything they wanted any time they wanted, no real mouthpiece emerged. When Stoops said something provocative, it resonated. But no other staff member ever has become a rallying figure.
That has changed with this Fiesta Bowl. Venables spoke passionately before the Sooners left Norman about how OU’s BCS bowl problems were well-discussed in the national marketplace and well-deserved.
And Venables hasn’t changed his tune in the desert. Here is a little of what Venables said Tuesday.
“It’s not magical. One, the other team comes out and they want to win too. We got outplayed, outcoached, out-physicalled. The common denominator is turnover battle and running the football in both of those (Fiesta) games…”
“We said a long time ago that the criticism is deserved. We have not played well. We not only got beat, we did not play well and did not coach well…”
“But last year’s Sun Bowl (victory) should be no different than playing here …Every year’s different. Every year is its own entity. Each game is its own entity. Obviously, we’ve great respect for the stage that we’re on. We feel good about earning our way here. At the same time, we have tremendous respect for UConn. A lot of parallels in how they got here and how we got here this year.”
“You want to win every game. You can tag it with whatever you want at the end. It doesn’t really matter to me whether it’s BCS or not. Have we played well in the BCS games as of late? Nope. That goes without saying.”
“There’s a process, and if you cheat the game in any way, you’ll get exposed, period, regardless of who you’re playing and what stage you’re playing on. If, within the confines of the game, you do any of the things that you say need to happen in order to win – turnovers, playing great run defense, so forth and so on – when those things break down, you’re going to get exposed and you’ll have a great chance to lose, regardless of who or where or what stage you’re playing on. There’s a simplicity to it that unfortunately we haven’t figured out yet – in this game.’
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