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Oklahoma Looking to Finalize Deal to Make Brent Venables Next Head Coach: Report

NCAA Football: ACC Championship-Clemson vs Miami

The Oklahoma Sooners are reportedly looking to finalize a deal to make Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables their next head coach. OU has been searching for a week on a replcaement for Lincoln Riley, who resigned on last Sunday to take over the USC Trojans.

The latest report on OU’s top target comes from ESPN’s Chris Lowe. If a deal is reached with Venables at Oklahoma, ESPN also reports that Ole Miss offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby would be his top choice as offensive coordinator.

Venables is a name familiar to Sooners fans, as he was a long-time assistant coach under Bob Stoops and has won three national championship rings as a defensive coordinator.


Venables served on Stoops’ staff rom 1999-2011, with most of that tenure spent as the defensive coordinator or co-defensive coordinator. He led the defense that helped the Sooners win the 2000 national championship. He left the Sooners after the 2011 season to take the defensive coordinator position with the Clemson Tigers under Dabo Swinney.

With the Tigers, he helped build one of the best defenses in the country, and helped the Tigers win national championships in 2016 and 2018. In 2016, Venbales won the Broyles Award, given to the nation’s top assistant coach.

Venables has been linked to other head-coaching jobs before. But, it’s been hard to pry him away from Clemson, in part because Venables is the highest-paid assistant coach in the country. He inked a $2.5 million per year extension with Clemson in July.


Both of his sons, Jake and Tyler, play at Clemson. But, the family climate has changed a bit. Jake announced last week that he was foregoing his final two years of eligibility due to injuries. The new transfer rules would allow Tyler to follow his dad to Norman without sitting out a year, if he so chooses.

If Venables’ ends up being the next head coach, his first job will be to stop the bleeding within the Sooners program and its recruiting efforts.

In the first 24 hours since Riley announced his departure from Oklahoma, at least a half-dozen recruits have decommitted from the program, and quarterback Spencer Rattler has announced his entry into the transfer portal.

Riley touchdown down in Southern California on Monday to take his new job. Former Sooners head coach Bob Stoops will be the interim head coach for the bowl game.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.

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