Oklahoma announces three members of Brent Venables’ coaching staff

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  • Miami Dolphins
    Miami Dolphins
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Brent Venables
    Brent Venables
    American football player and coach
  • Jerry Schmidt
    American football coach

Oklahoma head football coach Brent Venables announced the hirings of Miguel Chavis, Brandon Hall and Jerry Schmidt to the OU coaching staff.

Chavis joins OU as the Sooners’ new defensive ends coach, Hall is Oklahoma’s new safeties coach and Schmidt returns to OU as director of sports enhancement and strength and conditioning.

Chavis served in a defensive player development role over the past five seasons at Clemson. During his tenure, Chavis helped develop 2019 NFL Draft picks Clelin Ferrell, Christian Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence and Austin Bryant.

Ferrell (No. 4 overall), Wilkins (No. 13 overall) and Lawrence (No. 17 overall) were each first-round NFL Draft selections, while Bryant was taken in the fourth round.

“Miguel is a great story. He’s a former player at Clemson who was recruited by Coach (Dabo) Swinney and went on to play in the NFL, but he’d probably be the first to tell you he thought he would play there a lot longer. After going back to school, getting his degree and becoming an ordained minister, he found his calling in coaching. He was a real blessing to me at Clemson in our room as we built that program – on defense, in particular.

“He’s very passionate, he’s intense, players love him. He’s very gifted as a coach, as a communicator, teacher and mentor. And he’s high on life. We have a lot of similarities, even in our journeys. These players are really fortunate with what they’re getting. He’s genuine and authentic and will connect with them. He’s got a unique way of pulling the best out of people – adults and young people alike. He’ll be a dynamic recruiter and a tenacious coach who will demand perfection. But he leads with optimism and love. That’s what I love about him,” Venables said of Chavis.

Chavis described Oklahoma as a “dream job” and said he and his family are excited for the opportunity to come to OU.

“As a football fan, I’ve always looked at about four schools as the cream of the crop – Clemson, OU, Alabama and Ohio State. All I knew about OU is I thought they were at the top of college football and that my mentor Brent Venables came from there. This is what I’ve been preparing for, even back to my playing days at Clemson. I’ve always loved coaching – always wanted to know the ‘why’ behind what we were doing, loved preparing in the NFL and appreciated the different schemes and philosophies. The past five years I’ve been attending the Brent Venables school of defense, and I was getting a Ph. D.

“I’m excited to be with the guys and develop them on and off the field. That’s my passion – to develop defensive ends into great players, but also into great men, great husbands, fathers and neighbors. And I get to do that through football. The fan base here is amazing and they have great energy. And that’s perfect because I’m a passionate guy, an energy guy who will also bring knowledge, toughness and excitement. I can’t wait. My biggest message to our current players is, ‘You didn’t choose me, but I chose you. I chose to be here and this is my dream job. And I’m excited and I’m ready,” Chavis said.

Up next: The Sooners’ new safeties coach

Hall is an Oklahoma alumnus and former staff assistant under then-head coach Bob Stoops. Hall served as a student assistant at OU from 1998-2000, was one of Oklahoma’s graduate assistants from 2001-2003 and then one of the Sooners’ defensive quality control assistants from 2004-2005.

After coaching linebackers at Northern Iowa in 2006, serving as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Broken Arrow High School in 2007 and three years at Central Oklahoma, Hall returned to OU in 2011 as a defensive quality control assistant.

Hall has been Troy’s defensive coordinator for the past three seasons. The Trojans have the nation’s No. 28 total defense and No. 23 passing defense this season.

In 2020, Troy enjoyed one of the biggest turnarounds in all of college football. The Trojans led the country with four defensive scores and improved by 63 spots nationally in scoring defense and 38 spots in total defense as compared to 2019.

“Brandon is an Oklahoman and someone who worked with us for 10 years. He’s the epitome of what the coaching profession should be all about, as far as development, putting in the work, creating opportunities through relationships and sweat equity, figuring stuff out, being mentored, having humility and taking some chances. I’m really proud about his growth and development. He was one of the first people I met when I came to Oklahoma in 1999 when he was a student assistant. To see him continue to bloom at each of his stops has been really cool for me, all the way to being one of the best defensive coordinators in college football the last few years at Troy. He’s been a leader, he’s loyal, he’s tough, he’s smart, he’s really innovative and he connects well with the players. They’re in for a treat,” Venables said of Hall.

Hall said coach Bob Stoops and coach Venables are his coaching foundation and a big part of the reason he elected to return to Norman as the Sooners’ new safeties coach.

“When people talk about ‘going home,’ this is actually true in my case. I was born in Norman, so Oklahoma is a special place for me. I started my career here under Coach (Bob) Stoops, and both he and Coach Venables took a chance on me. They’re a big reason I’m here. I’ve always believed that your identity as a coach is your foundation, and my foundation is Coach Stoops and Coach Venables. I’ve been able to go out and develop my own style and develop as a coach and person, but to be able to come back and be a part of the OU tradition is something I can’t describe. Who I am as a coach and as a person has really been impacted by those two and how they approach the game – their aggressiveness, their tenacity and their standards.

“Coach Venables to me has always been about, ‘OK, this is the standard; this is how we’re going to operate and this is how we’re going to live.’ It’s impacted me not only as a coach but in my personal life as well. When he called and asked me to join him at OU, it really wasn’t a question for me. It was, ‘I’m in.’ This place is special to me. I’m going to do everything I can each day to live up to those expectations and standards, because if there’s anybody who understands them, it’s me. I’m looking forward to growing and being a part of it all. There are great, great things ahead for this program,” Hall said.

Up next: The Sooners’ new strength and conditioning coach

Schmidt was Oklahoma’s longtime strength and conditioning coach during the Stoops era. He led OU’s strength and conditioning program from 1999-2017 before his recent four-year stint at Texas A&M as the Aggies’ director of athletic performance.

Schmidt has a decorated track record. Schmidt has trained seven Heisman Trophy winners: Kyler Murray, Baker Mayfield, Sam Bradford and Jason White at Oklahoma; Danny Wuerffel at Florida; Barry Sanders at Oklahoma State; and Tim Brown at Notre Dame.

Schmidt has also worked with 30 NFL Draft first-round selections and 66 first-team All-Americans. In addition, teams he’s trained have played in six national championship games and won three national championships (Oklahoma in 2000, Florida in 1996 and Notre Dame in 1988).

“That’s a critical hire on so many levels. Jerry’s values, expectations and standards align with mine and ours as a program. He’s a detail guy, is super consistent and tough, but he’s reasonable. He’s the same guy whether you’re winning by 40 or down by 14. I think it’s important from a leadership standpoint that we have someone who has clear vision about what all of that looks like. So while his experience is tremendous, he’s also an effective communicator and excellent motivator. He’s going to bring out the absolute best in our guys. He’ll stretch them and squeeze them in ways maybe they haven’t been before, but it’s going to benefit them and create the transferable skills both on the field and off. He’s going to set them up for success for the rest of their lives,” Venables said of Schmidt.

Schmidt said the draw to return to a place as “special” as Oklahoma is why he’s back with the Sooners.

“What immediately popped in my mind when I got the call from Brent is just how special OU is. I enjoyed my time (at Texas A&M) and in the SEC, but it wasn’t a hard decision for me to come back. I got the same feeling when Brent called me that I got when Bob (Stoops) called me to join him in Norman when he got hired. Because Brent’s like Bob. Brent’s reputation around the country is about toughness, and that’s what OU’s about – toughness, working hard.

“That’s what this whole state’s about. I just want to come back and be a part of it. Like I said, this place is very special. It’s about the great players who’ve been here, are here and are coming here, and their pursuit of championships. And I can feel it with the energetic staff he’s putting together and the commitment to doing things the right way. I’m excited OU’s going to the SEC because this program can definitely compete at that level. I’m looking forward to that challenge,” Schmidt said.

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