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- American football player and coach
If last night’s response to Brent Venables’ arrival to Norman was any indication, Sooners Nation is fired up about the hire of its 23rd head coach. Venables arrived to take the Oklahoma job, serenaded by the Sooners’ fight song with thousands of fans awaiting the new head coaches’ arrival.
Instantly, his energy and passion took over as he greeted the warm reception and restored confidence in a program that was left shaken a week ago.
The event that took place today at the Everest Center in Norman furthered the hype behind the hiring of Brent Venables.
Lincoln Riley had his success, of that there’s no doubt, but all of the success he had in the conference couldn’t translate to winning on the national stage. Though Venables doesn’t have head coaching experience, he’s gone up against the best the College Football Playoff had to offer, and he and the Clemson Tigers came out on top twice.
Clemson’s wins over Alabama in the 2016 and 2018 national title games represent the only time since 2014 that a team that wasn’t from the SEC won the national title.
Venables carries the same swagger that emboldened Bob Stoops to speak out against the SEC as some unstoppable juggernaut. In Stoops’ final years as head coach of the Oklahoma Sooners, he would consistently and unabashedly share that the SEC wasn’t the be-all, end-all of college football. In his remarks today from the even in Norman, Venables shared that same confidence. That he was the guy to lead them into the SEC, and he’s got the track record of recruiting and success on the field to prove it.
Today, in his introductory remarks, the energy, confidence, and passion he coaches with spoke volumes. However, the love he has for his players is what hits home. He spoke of his relationships with his players not being transactional. He spoke of serving the players’ hearts and not their talent. He spoke of graduating students and helping them have the best college experience. Venables spoke of that being foundational to winning a national championship. While getting to the top spot in the country is a goal, according to Venables, it doesn’t happen unless student-athletes graduate, develop as men, and have a great college experience.
Brent Venables is just the shot in the arm this program needed in the wake of last week’s coaching change. Former players and current players have already expressed their excitement for Oklahoma’s new head coach. If that doesn’t resonate with recruits considering the University of Oklahoma, I don’t know what will.
He’s been endorsed by former players, some that still play for Clemson, and in the statements from the University of Oklahoma, was endorsed by Hall of Fame Coaches Bob Stoops and Bill Snyder.
It has to translate to the field when the Sooners embark on the 2022 season, but from where the program was a week ago to how we feel about it now, this has been an A+ hire by Joseph Harroz and Joe Castiglione.