Anonymous SEC coaches share thoughts on Brent Venables and the Oklahoma Sooners

The SEC is holding their annual league meetings in Destin, Florida this week, creating a lot of conversation about where the league is heading in 2024. We’ve received a few kickoff times, including a 2:30 p.m. CT start for the Red River Rivalry game in 2024.

Additionally, coaches have met with the media on a number of topics. Over at Athlon Sports, they put together their annual piece on what coaches said anonymously about their colleagues.

Brent Venables Defense is coming together

They’re starting to round out on defense to a unit you’d expect Brent [Venables] to be coaching at Clemson. That’s the good news entering the SEC. The bad news is that they could be bad on the O-line if they can’t pull some guys together late in the portal. – Anonymous SEC Coach

This is the expectation. Brent Venables was brought to Oklahoma to restore defensive football in Norman. There have been some growing pains, but the growth is evident. The Sooners went from 99th in scoring defense in 2022 to 49th, improving by nearly a touchdown a game.

After retaining Danny Stutsman, Billy Bowman, Woodi Washington, and Da'Jon Terry, bringing in big-time additions like Damonic Williams, and a top-flight defensive recruiting class, the Sooners look ready to make another jump despite the move to the SEC.

I don’t think they’ll be bad along the offensive line. Did they have a lot of turnover? Absolutely. But the Sooners boast one of the best offensive line coaches in the nation and Bill Bedenbaugh has proven to be able to reconstruct offensive lines via the portal in recent years. There’s a lot of talent for the Sooners to work with upfront.

Is Oklahoma Ready in the Trenches?

Oklahoma is a legit top program, but the secret to the SEC is the line play, and they won’t be able to do what they want on offense if they can’t protect against the average DL in this league. – Anonymous SEC Coach

The Sooners are one of the premiere programs in college football. Seven national titles and 50 conference championships speak to that reality. At the same time, they’re taking on a different animal when they enter the SEC. Every week, the Sooners are going to be challenged up front.

Oklahoma’s added Michael Tarquin, Febechi Nwaiwu, Branson Hickman, Spencer Brown, and Geirean Hatchett to the offensive line depth chart via the transfer portal. Tarquin, Nwaiwu and Hickman could be week one starters up front and provide a ton of experience and upside to the Sooners offensive line.

2022 signees Jacob Sexton and Jake Taylor look ready to ascend into the starting lineup. Both guys had great offseasons and look the part of big-time offensive line prospects.

Hickman’s new to the group, arriving in the spring portal window. However, with more than 2,400 snaps under his belt and should get acclimated to the unit by week one.

This is a unit that feels less concerning now than it did when the offseason started and Bedenbaugh and the players will pull it together.

Seth Littrell brings the goods

If you’re looking for a new offense, it won’t be drastically different from [former offensive coordinator Jeff] Lebby, but they’ve got to run the ball more effectively than they did when he was there. Seth [Littrell] is a made-to-order kind of OC, a really experienced guy who is going to scheme to fit. – Anonymous SEC Coach

Oklahoma turned over both coordinator positions this offseason, but they went to an experienced guy in Seth Littrell. As important as his time spent as a playcaller is the time he spent as an offensive analyst with the Sooners in 2023. He’s familiar with the roster, with Jackson Arnold, and in turn, the players are familiar with Littrell.

With Littrell, the hope is a more physical offense with a more aggressive mindset. Jeff Lebby was good, but too often, Oklahoma struggled in short-yardage situations and Lebby often looked risk-averse. If Littrell can help the offense have a more physical mindset it will go along way in the SEC.

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Story originally appeared on Sooners Wire