"Former Sooners defensive coordinator Brent Venables, 50, has emerged at Clemson over the past few years as one of the nation’s top defensive coordinators, and has previously drawn some head coaching interest. He’s been very choosey and he’s very well-compensated. Venables was once forced out of Norman, so we’re not very confident Oklahoma would bring him back as a head coach."
Where will athletic director Joe Castiglione go from here?
Current head coaches He could go with another top coach from inside the conference. Iowa State’s Matt Campbell has won Big 12 Coach of the Year honors three times, and in 2020 led the Cyclones to their best season in school history. Campbell is a very well-respected developer of culture and talent. Campbell’s also proven he’s also an excellent game coach. In his second season at Iowa State, he beat No. 3 Oklahoma in Norman; later that year, he beat TCU when the Horned Frogs were No. 4. Campbell’s beaten out twice and came within one point of beating the Sooners again in Norman. He received a lot of interest from USC before Riley jumped at the Trojans’ offer. We hear that Campbell is also coveted by Washington for its vacancy.
Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin is a polarizing option, but he might get a look from the Sooners. Like Riley, he’s a terrific offensive mind. Kiffin has led the Rebels to their first 10-win regular season in school history. He is 15-7 in two seasons in Oxford after going 26-13 at FAU. The 46-year-old does have off-field baggage from previous stops that may make some administrators leery of hiring him in spite of his offensive acumen.
Former Oklahoma offensive coordinator Mike Leach, a member of Bob Stoops’ first staff, is revered by Sooners legend Barry Switzer, and he’s expected to draw some interest because he has some influential Sooners in his corner. Leach did a terrific job in the Big 12 for a decade at Texas Tech. Following a successful run rebuilding a dismal Washington State program, Leach, 60, has done well in two seasons in the SEC at Mississippi State, highlighted by a 7-5 season this year with wins over three top-20 teams. Leach has gotten comfortable in Starkville, but he probably would have a hard time saying no to Oklahoma.
Kentucky’s Mark Stoops is the younger brother of Bob and he’s done a great job turning around Kentucky football. A program that had only won more than eight games four times in the previous century before he arrived now has won at least nine games twice in the past four years. He is currently 32-17 at Kentucky. The younger Stoops has gotten some interest this hiring cycle, but he is very happy with the direction of things in Lexington and he has kept elevating the program. We suspect he wouldn’t be able to turn down LSU if that job was offered to him. The same might be said for him with Oklahoma, although the prospect of working at his older brother’s program, where Bob has a strong presence, might not be an ideal dynamic.
Since Castiglione has had enormous success with his last two hires both being coordinators (Stoops and Riley) promoted to the head coaching job, I wouldn’t be stunned if Oklahoma hired a first-time head coach.
Three coordinator options The first option of this group might be a non-starter strictly because of timing because Dan Lanning, the defensive coordinator at Georgia, likely will be busy with the College Football Playoff until the second week of January. Lanning was a finalist for the Broyles Award, and probably will be one again this year given how ferocious the Dawgs have been on that side of the ball. Lanning turned down coordinator jobs at Florida State and Texas in the past couple of years, and he has bypassed some Group of 5 head coaching opportunities. His next move will be as a head coach, and if the Sooners opt to go in this direction, it would be tough for the 35-year-old to ignore.
“Lanning’s been in for a couple of jobs the last couple of years between the AAC and some other Group of 5 programs where he was a top candidate for some ADs, but he didn’t want to jump for some of those jobs,” an industry source told The Athletic earlier this month. “A lot of people are really high on him. Yes, he’s got great players (at Georgia), but he’s done a really good job of coaching them and they’re playing really, really hard. Maybe Arizona State tries to hire him. He’s been there before (as a GA and recruiting coordinator from 2012-13). I think with him it’s only a matter of time when he wants to take a job, and knowing that, he doesn’t have to rush to take something that is at a place where it’s really tough to have a lot of success. He’s still young and has a lot of energy. He knows how it went for Kirby (Smart) — if you can have patience, you can end up with a great job.”
Texas A&M’s Mike Elko is better positioned from a timing standpoint, since the Aggies are 8-4 and not in College Football Playoff consideration. Elko has been up for other Power 5 head coaching jobs and he knows the Sooners’ recruiting turf quite well. He’s one of the brightest defensive minds in football. The Aggies rank No. 9 in yards per play allowed this season. The 44-year-old former Penn safety has been in the mix for previous Big 12 head coaching vacancies at both TCU and Kansas.
Former Sooners defensive coordinator Brent Venables, 50, has emerged at Clemson over the past few years as one of the nation’s top defensive coordinators, and has previously drawn some head coaching interest. He’s been very choosey and he’s very well-compensated. Venables was once forced out of Norman, so we’re not very confident Oklahoma would bring him back as a head coach.
I can't remember his name. Anyhoo. He thought that Oklahoma was going to take a long look at Josh Heupel. Former Oklahoma QB and OC. Did good things at UCF, looks to be doing not horrible at Tennessee finishing 7-5 after 2020's 3-7 season. But, he's only been at Tennessee 1 year, so would he jump ship that fast?
Kinda surprised he wasn't listed in the article that Father G® posted.
I remember Finebaum's first interview with Dabo. PF danced around the question a during which time Dabo kept the mic for about 15 minutes while Paul sat in silence. Dabo described the five years after he left Bama and how Bama had dangled the hope of a coaching job there before his life. At one time one of Bama's coaches hired him during the off season then that coach got busted for 'hookers and blow,' or something thereabout in Florida. At one time Bama hired Dabo as TE coach then replaced him with two of the head coache's sons both instances a job then no job before he took the field.
Finebaum's first question after that expose' was 'I guess there's no reason to ask you if you'd ever return to Alabama?' To which Dabo said, 'I have learned to never say never.'
Fact is, OU screwed Brent when they allow the HC to reduce his rank by sharing it with the HC's brother. I'm no supposing that BV knew that he was the best OC in the nation but I can speculate with honesty that he intended to be just that. IMO, he wouldn't pee on them if they caught fire at this point.
Something would have to radically change at Clemson to make him leave for OU.
But I think it would be a bad hire for Oklahoma. It would be foolish to hire a guy with no HC experience. Lincoln is gonna take a lot of recruits and some players with him to USC. New coach will have a rebuilding job to do, plus has to usher them into playing in the SEC.
For a guy who has never been a HC that's a recipe for disaster.
he may also find the politics, responsibility and other factors too burdensome for his taste. If he takes a HCing job I wonder if it is possible that he could become as good a HC as he is a DC.
I always liked working with my hands and looking back each day to quantify my success. I've been a project manager, superintendent and many construction jobs including sheetrock (framer, hanger and finisher). I actually made the most money as worker rather than a manager. I think BV has a touch of that in his nature.
before becoming another victim of the Peter Principle. Nothing wrong with striving for the top of your profession, but there's also nothing wrong with finding your prime comfort slot and just riding that baby out forever.
(10 years x 2.5 mil) + happiness + success + awards > (4 years x $5 mil) + misery + wrecked reputation + resign in shame