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- American football player and coach
The Oklahoma Sooners hiring of Brent Venables has received rave reviews. From Oklahoma media to former players, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who wasn’t ecstatic about the hire. The 10,000 plus people that showed up at an airport in Norman on a Sunday evening are a microcosm of the excitement the Oklahoma Sooners fanbase is experiencing with this hire.
Venables has long been respected as a tough and intelligent coach who valued his players and pushed them to be their best. He’s got a long track record of helping players reach individual achievement while creating successful defenses as a unit.
With nearly 30 years coaching football, Venables has been a hot name for head coaching jobs but never saw a fit until athletics director Joe Castiglione came calling. The chance to come back to Oklahoma was the opportunity he’d been waiting for. And with the uncertainty program was in a little over a week ago, he sounds like the perfect man for the job.
Here at Sooners Wire, we had the pleasure of catching up with several former players from Brent Venables’ time at Oklahoma and Clemson to share their thoughts on the new Oklahoma Sooners head coach.
“I’ve known BV (Brent Venables) for over 20 years,” said John Flynn, former player and graduate assistant for Oklahoma. “During this time, I had the privilege to play for OU while he was a coach there and later had the honor of being able to coach alongside him during my GA years. He’s a fantastic football coach and even better person, family-man, and father. He’ll bring a wealth of football knowledge to OU, passion, and a love for OU football. He’s a loyal coach that will run the program in a successful way.”
Knowledge, passion, love, and loyalty consistently ring out when Venables speaks, and others speak about him. But those traits alone won’t make him successful. But that matched with his success is what’s led to this opportunity. His defenses have long been regarded as some of the best in the country, whether during his time at OU or Clemson. But what is it that defines a Brent Venables’ defense?
Former Oklahoma Sooners offensive lineman Wes Sims said, “Intensity plus intelligence equals intimidation. That’s the Brent Venables defense.”
Brent Venables’ passion is visible. Whether in a press conference or on the sideline. It’s the desire to succeed and see his players reach their potential on the field and in the game of life that drives him and drives his players.
Former Clemson and current Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle D.J. Reader shared his thoughts. “Being coached by him is super tough, but he really brings that competitive nature out in you that you need as a football player,” Reader said. “He’s a great dude off the field, and his preparation for work is unmatched. If I had to do it all again, I’d do it twice. He really prepared me to play in the NFL.”
In the Brent Venables introductory press conference, Joe Castiglione mentioned that Venables was his first call. Though there was a process to play out, Castiglione wanted Brent Venables. The toughness, the attitude, the success, and the commitment to the university and the players is what made Venables an attractive choice to be the head coach of the Oklahoma Sooners.
And as Venables begins to put his coaching staff together, it’s evident there’s an attitude shift taking place with the Oklahoma Sooners that will very much reflect their head coach’s passion, energy, and toughness.