7 things to know about Clemson coordinator Brent Venables, his Oklahoma connections

·3 min read
Tim Dominick/The State file photo

Lincoln Riley set the college football rumor mill abuzz when he left Oklahoma to become the new head coach at Southern Cal on Sunday.

As theorized by national pundits, Riley’s potential replacements include a pair of South Carolina football figures — Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables and Gamecocks head coach Shane Beamer — with Venables one of the principle names in contention.

What has led to the Venables-to-Oklahoma clamor? Here’s what you need to know about the Clemson defensive coordinator and his tie to the Sooners.

What is Brent Venables’ salary, contract at Clemson?

Venables’ contract at Clemson was extended in July 2021 to run through the 2026 season. His contract averages at $2.5 million per year. Venables became the highest-paid assistant coach in college football when Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian left Tuscaloosa to become head coach of the Texas Longhorns in January. Riley was making almost $8 million a year with the Sooners.

What is Brent Venables’ history at Oklahoma?

Venables worked as an associate head coach, defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Oklahoma from 1999-2011 under longtime Sooners head coach Bob Stoops, who is serving as Oklahoma’s interim head coach for the time being. While in Norman, Venables coached five Big 12 defensive players of the year, five conference freshmen of the year and three Butkus Award Winners. The Sooners won the 2000 BCS National Championship when he was co-defensive coordinator alongside Mike Stoops.

In 2001, Oklahoma’s defense ranked in the top-five in scoring, total defense and pass efficiency, and two years later, his Sooners led the nation in total defense and pass defense, second in pass efficiency, third in scoring defense and fifth in the turnover margin.

OU coaching odds

According to SportsLine oddsmakers, Venables is the leading potential candidate for the Oklahoma vacancy. Here are the full odds:

  • Brent Venables +250

  • Lane Kiffin +500

  • Mark Stoops +500

  • Matt Campbell +600

  • Luke Fickell +700

  • Jay Norvell +800

  • Bob Stoops +900

  • Josh Heupel +1000

  • Shane Beamer +1100

  • Mario Cristobal +1500

  • Dave Aranda +1500

  • Kliff Kingsbury +2000

Has Brent Venables ever been a head coach?

No, though he’s been mentioned in reports for head coaching vacancies throughout his career. He’s been a regular name annually in the coaching search rumor mill through his recent success at Clemson.

This former OU player heaps praise on Brent Venables’ impacts from time with Sooners

Why did Brent Venables leave Oklahoma?

Venables’ 2011 Oklahoma defense ranked 55th nationally as the Sooners went 10-3 that year. Bob Stoops rehired his brother, Mike Stoops, to serve as co-defensive coordinator alongside Venables, an arrangement Venables and Mike Stoops had coached with from 1999-2003. Venables told ESPN in December 2015 that Mike Stoops’ return didn’t force him out — but with an offer from Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney in hand, he decided to make the move to Clemson.

What has Brent Venables done at Clemson?

Venables has been part of two national championship wins at Clemson in 2016 and 2018 as well as six ACC championships. He won the 2016 Broyles Award for the nation’s top assistant coach and coached Butkus Award winner Isaiah Simmons. Clemson’s defense set a school record with 54 sacks in 2018.

Where do Brent Venables’ sons play football?

Brent Venables’ sons Jake and Tyler both play football at Clemson. Jake Venables is a redshirt junior linebacker credited with 89 tackles, four sacks, two pass breakups and a forced fumble with the Tigers. Tyler Venables is a sophomore safety credited with 56 tackles, one sack and six pass breakups in two seasons.

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