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.