Sooners continue staff rebuild with re-hiring of Jerry Schmidt as the S&C Coach

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We have reached a full-on reunion tour for Oklahoma football over the last few weeks. Less than two weeks ago, Lincoln Riley was the head coach of the Oklahoma Sooners. Since his departure to USC, Bob Stoops stepped up to be the interim head coach while the new head coach, Brent Venables, gets his staff together and settles into his new role. Venables was a defensive coordinator for a decade-plus at Oklahoma and coached in four national title games.

While Bob Stoops handles preparations for the Alamo Bowl, Venables is out on the recruiting trail and assembling the rest of his staff. It looks like the new offensive coordinator is on board. And the reunion tour picked up steam as Jerry Schmidt, a long-time Sooners Strength & Conditioning coach, has chosen to leave his post as Director of Sports Performance at Texas A&M and head back to Norman, where he was from 1999-2017.

Schmidt was a highly respected and beloved guy for his time in Norman, and judging by former player reactions to the news, he was not one to be messed around with. Former players have lauded him for his tough workouts and how he goes about his business. Schmidt will be bringing Russell Dennison with him as well.

Dennison has also spent time with Oklahoma and served as Schmidt’s assistant with the Sooners. Dennison previously served as Wyoming’s director of sports performance and worked with the football team.

Before his time in Wyoming, he spent five years (2011-15) as an assistant strength and conditioning coach for the University of Oklahoma football program. Dennison was responsible for designing speed, strength, and conditioning programs for the Sooners, working with Jerry Schmidt per Texas A&M’s official website.

Schmidt and Venables are very close and have worked together for years. It seems that the relationship and the results of Schmidt’s work made it an easy decision for Venables to reach out to his old friend. Dennison is also familiar with the Oklahoma program, making this a total package.

With Venables committing to redefining the culture and instilling a level of toughness and physicality that some questioned OU football lacked over recent years, getting guys like Schmidt and Dennison seem like perfect moves.

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Former players react to the return of Strength and Conditioning Coach Jerry Schmidt