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In all of the controversy that surrounded the departure of Lincoln Riley to USC, athletic director Joe Castiglione and Joseph Harroz didn’t fumble the opportunity to make a significant hire. While he doesn’t come with head coaching experience, Brent Venables was one of the most accomplished coordinators in all of college football during tenures at Oklahoma and Clemson.
Only results on the field will determine whether the Sooners made a great hire. However, the early returns on the recruiting trail and the comments coming out of Norman from players and family members indicate the Sooners remain on a strong trajectory.
Over at The Athletic, Stewart Mandel graded the various coaching hires around college football, giving the University of Oklahoma an A-minus for its hiring of Venables.
Here’s what he had to say:
You can never say for certain which accomplished coordinators will make the best head coaches, but Venables, 51, has certainly earned his shot. He’s been the most respected DC in college football for most of the last decade, resisting various head-coaching overtures prior to this one. And he previously spent 13 seasons at the side of Bob Stoops in Norman. That’s a lot of comfort and familiarity for a first-time head coach. – Mandel, The Athletic
After Lincoln Riley’s abrupt departure less than 24 hours after the Oklahoma Sooners’ season ending loss in Bedlam, the OU leadership did their due diligence with the hiring of Venables.
It took a week to make it official, but as reports began to surface that Venables was the guy, the anticipation came to a fever pitch when he got off the plan in Norman. The Sooners brought home an Oklahoma guy. Someone who looked at OU as a destination job.
And they brought home a guy that has the recruiting and defensive chops to lead the Sooners into the SEC. During his time at Clemson, Venables was part of two national championship teams that knocked off Alabama along the way.
As the Oklahoma Sooners continue their winter workouts ahead of 2022 spring ball,  the excitement for the Venables era hasn’t waned. With a retooled roster, the Sooners will again be the Big 12 favorite heading into the 2022 season.
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