3 p.m. update: What’s next for Stoopses, Venables?
CAMPUS CORNER — A fluid day and week around here, to say the least.
Mike Stoops has confirmed his return, says he’s on his way to town – but still nothing official has been put out by the university. Stoops said just before noon that “some formalities” remain.
The clock has evidently run out on waiting for Willie Martinez to land another job. He’s no longer with the school, I was told earlier this afternoon. I’m under the impression he had not been recruiting for OU for, oh, about a week. That’s why you saw promised and promising cornerback De’Vante Harris decommit last weekend.
So, I’m expecting to see something this afternoon/evening or in the morning from OU, regarding the reuniting of the Stoops brothers and Martinez’s status. I’m curious to see how all of that is phrased. I’m fairly sure it’ll say Martinez is “pursuing other professional opportunities” or something to that effect.
Then there’s the Brent Venables curveball. And credit Tulsa’s Dave Sittler for unearthing that new information from Bob Stoops, because I had been told repeatedly, at every turn, that Venables was fine with Mike Stoops coming back. He was interested in getting back to the championship-contender level at OU and saw that as the best means to do so. (You’ve already seen Mike Stoops say things to that effect, as well. He’s referenced or mentioned Venables, by name.)
And maybe Venables really is OK with it, on some levels, but he understands that this would certainly be perceived by, well, pretty much everyone as a demotion. Presuming it is considered in the coaching world that way, maybe that would limit Venables’ opportunities – especially as a head coach – in the future. I could see how Venables might want to avoid that, if he still maintains those aspirations.
I’m under the impression that he does, considering he had at least passing interest in some of the recently filled middle-tier vacancies – a job like Southern Miss, for instance. So, when Venables received interest from major programs to be their defensive coordinator — Auburn … then West Virginia … maybe now Clemson — he was forced to listen. And that’s where we are.
Like every other reporter under the sun, I’ve tried to reach out to Venables. No one’s hearing a whole lot — at least not right now. Sounds as if Venables is weighing his options, and rightfully so. I wouldn’t be surprised if this continued for a few days, maybe even through the weekend — and especially if Clemson is at all an option, since that position only opened today.
At OU, Venables would effectively be second in command to Mike Stoops, even though he had been in control of the defense since 2004.
At West Virginia, there’s some question as to how Dana Holgorsen would divide the authority between Venables and Joe DeForest, just hired Wednesday from OSU.
At Clemson, Kevin Steele had full control and there’s no reason to think the next guy wouldn’t have the same responsibilities. Dabo Swinney, a former receivers coach, sure isn’t going to meddle with the defense.
Venables is doing fine financially at OU, but he would see a bump at either West Virginia or Clemson. Both would probably pay somewhere in the $600-750K neighborhood. Steele’s buyout, for a point of reference, was a reported $1.15 million.
Let’s see where it goes from here … Next move will be OU, I believe, and then Venables.
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