Oklahoma Sooners

Anonymous Big 12 Coach Says Oklahoma is ‘Caught Between Eras’

We’ve reached the point of the offseason where preseason magazines start to trickle out onto grocery store shelves and in .PDF format on Twitter and everywhere else you find your college football content.

One of the mainstays of the preseason magazine world, Athlon Sports, has long had a segment during this part of the season when they ask coaches, anonymously, about other coaches in their league.

This is always quite entertaining, as it has been this year, with several interesting comments from around the league. When asked about Brent Venables and the Oklahoma Sooners, one anonymous coach had this to say after OU’s 6-7 year in 2022.


“Probably the best way to explain last season is that they’ve got a head coach [Brent Venables] who hasn’t made all the hard decisions yet. They’re caught between eras, what they were — and also what was slipping — with Lincoln [Riley] and what they want to be heading into the SEC next year. … I’m not sure Brent understood the landscape of recruiting for OU coming from Clemson for so long and being able to win on guys easier. Norman, you have to work there. It’s not easy.”

It is safe to say that Brent Venables and his staff inherited quite the rebuilding project last season, especially defensively.

The Sooners have been historically bad defensively over the last several years, and last season was no different, ranking 122nd in total defense, with 461.0 yards per game allowed. They also ranked 99th in scoring defense, allowing exactly 30 points per game.


However, the comment about Venables not knowing the “landscape of recruiting for OU” seemed a bit misplaced. Heck, if there was anything that Venables did well last season, it was recruit.

Oklahoma is coming off the No. 4 recruiting class in the 2023 rankings and its highest-rated class in recent history. The Sooners also just signed two five-star defensive players in the same class for the first time in over a decade.

Plus, Venables was at Oklahoma for 12 years as a defensive coordinator before leaving for Clemson in 2012. If there’s anyone that knows the landscape for recruiting at Oklahoma, it’s Venables.

Despite being off on that, the coach was right about one thing, and that’s that Oklahoma is caught between eras. Under Lincoln Riley, the Sooners boasted one of the top offenses in college football and regularly outscored opponents. However, under Venables, the Sooners will hope to win games with a stymying defense.

The Sooners are also doing things much differently behind the scenes now, with more organization and accountability than before.

Being caught between two eras is tough, hence the 6-7 record in 2022. That much, the anonymous coach was dead-right about.

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