Some Oklahomans will be shocked that Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips flew in this week, apparently to interview OU defensive coordinator Brent Venables. Venables, like other assistant coaches before him in the Sooner pressure cooker, is a stranger in his own land. I don’t know if Clemson will hire Venables, but make no mistake. He is a prime head coach candidate. Venables has virtually the same pedigree as the Brothers Stoops, who both coached under two nationally respected head coaches; who both tutored national-championship defenses; who both fit the young, sharp, energetic, passionate profile desired by many ADs. Venables still is only 37 but has worked 15 years for either Bill Snyder at Kansas State or Bob Stoops at OU. OU’s defense has been torched at times this season and ranks 51st in total yards. But that still leads the offense-crazy Big 12. Coordinators at tradition-rich schools toil on a hot seat. It goes with the job. A few years ago, Greg Davis was ridiculed at Texas. Now he’s an offensive genius. Thirty years ago, Sooner fans swore that Galen Hall was past his prime, yet he still coordinates the offense of a top-10 team, Penn State. Many OU fans were glad to see Mark Mangino go when he was hired away by Kansas seven years ago. When Mangino coached the Jayhawks to an Orange Bowl victory last season, some revisionist history occurred. Several years ago, when Phillips was AD at Oklahoma State, he asked me about Venables. It was obvious then that Venables was too young for a head coaching job; it also was obvious that Venables had caught Phillips’ attention. For good reason. Some of the nation’s best head coaches came from the defensive side. Boosters and fans and even some athletic directors are drawn to offense. But Pete Carroll, Nick Saban and Stoops all were defensive coordinators. Venables will be a head coach some day, and it might be some day soon, and it might be some day soon at a job as good as Clemson.