College

‘No-brainer’: Why Brent Venables chose OU over so many other gigs

‘No-brainer’: Why Brent Venables chose OU over so many other gigs

That triple meat cheeseburger meant a lot to Brent Venables.

Desperate for a meal after touring the OU facilities all day, the Venables family found bliss in an orange and white striped building.

The Norman Whataburger.

“We’re going home where we’re going to stay, and we are starving,” Venables said. “This is like… way after midnight, and we found Whataburger. Game-changer. We don’t have one of those in Clemson. A cheeseburger later and some onion rings, and we were in hog heaven. It was just indescribable this morning.” 

While it may seem trivial, this was one of the families’ first bonding experiences since Brent took the head coaching gig Sunday. The lauded defensive coordinator from Clemson spent 13 years at OU in the 2000s, but it’s been a while since he’d been to Norman. After the late-night dinner and welcome party, they’re feeling comfortable at OU again.

“Our family was molded and shaped here,” Venables said. “There’s so many incredible influences.”

For years, Venables was sought after as a defensive mind. He was heavily rumored for jobs like Kansas State and Auburn, but never left.

When the Oklahoma job opened though, Venables couldn’t resist.

“This is a no-brainer in my opinion,” Venables said. “From the leadership to the alignment, to the success of this program, there was history to the location and the people.”

He’s already planning too. 

A defensive coach, Venables wants to put a special emphasis on the offense. Venables said his ideal offense would be “aggressive and physical.” As for the defense, Venables will use similar techniques that won him the Broyles Award in 2016. This will be crucial in OU’s transition to a tough SEC conference.

“I’m always forward-thinking. Certainly in the now, but in the very near future and transitioning to the SEC,” Venables said. “We were in an SEC footprint in South Carolina and recruiting into the SEC. 

“All of the teams understand what they have. It’s always about the player. That’s where it’s going to start.”

Venables takes over during a tumultuous time for the Sooners. Former coach Lincoln Riley left the program last week after a 37-33 loss to Oklahoma State. Despite the rockiness, many are excited for the Venables era at OU––including his former boss.

“I am super excited for Brent and Julie and the entire Venables family,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “Man, he’s not only been a great co-worker and defensive coordinator, but he’s been a great friend.”

Current OU players are excited too. Many players tweeted candid reactions to the hiring on Sunday, with all of them being positive. Running back Jaden Knowles, famous for being a weatherman as a side gig, offered an animated response to the hire.

“The storm has finally passed, sunny skies are expected in Norman! Welcome home @CoachVenables let’s work!!! #Boomer,” Knowles said in a tweet.

Above all, Venables wants players and recruits to know his mantra: loyalty.

“I’ve been loyal,” Venables said. “I haven’t been a coach that’s jumped all over. In taking this job, I think that that speaks for itself… If (recruits) are looking for a program with stability, a program of success, this is a program that displays that on its own. My career has been exactly that as well.”

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