Oklahoma’s longtime co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach spoke Saturday and Sunday with school officials about its defensive coordinator opening.
Venables’ plane from Clemson landed at 9:50 Sunday night at Bethany’s Wiley Post.
He said he had not accepted the job, but did not offer much beyond that.
“I’m sorry. I wish I could say more,” Venables said, “but I really can’t comment or anything.”
Asked whether he had received an offer from the Tigers, he didn’t indicate whether he had or not.
While at Clemson, Venables toured facilities and even speaking with Tigers recruits.
“I feel like he’s going to be the guy,” Clemson safety commitment Ronald Geohaghan told the school’s Rivals website. “I think that’s who is going to be our defensive coordinator. He seems cool and down to earth. He takes his job seriously and loves his team, loves his linebackers.”
Venables is expected to make a decision in the next day or so, with Bob Stoops and OU officials making their case for Venables to stay put.
Sources have indicated Clemson is willing to pay between $750,000 and $1 million a year for the new coordinator.
Offensive coordinator Chad Morris, previously at Tulsa, received a raise to $1.3 million a season after his first year on staff.
Venables currently makes about $500,000 a year at OU. Though the school is willing to give him a raise, it’s unlikely it could approach Clemson’s potential offer.
Venables, 41, has been on the Sooners’ staff since Stoops came to Norman in 1999, solely holding the coordinator title from 2004 until Friday.
That was the time in which Mike Stoops worked as Arizona’s head coach. Bob’s younger brother returned this past week to coach the secondary and again share the defensive chief role with Venables.
It’s unclear how Venables’ responsibilities would change if he did stay, although there’s more than a fair share of speculation that Mike Stoops would again be the principal decision-maker, since he was in the first go-round.
Both Mike and Bob Stoops have adamantly said the roles have not been defined.
Venables and Mike Stoops left Oklahoma City together Friday afternoon to recruit — something that was even indicated in the school’s release announcing Mike Stoops’ rehiring.
Mike Stoops was spotted Saturday night at the Thunder basketball game while Venables remained east.
The Tigers let their previous defensive coordinator, Kevin Steele, go despite the fact the team won its first ACC title and appeared in a BCS bowl. The problem was what happened once in the Orange Bowl, where West Virginia ran circles around Clemson in a 70-33 victory.
When the door came open, Venables was an instant target. He interviewed with Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips, previously at Oklahoma State, in 2008 for the head job that ultimately went to Dabo Swinney. Now Swinney is courting Venables.