Tag:Brent Venables
Posted on: March 7, 2012 6:07 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: Clemson



Posted by Chip Patterson


Spring football is in the air, and with our Spring Practice Primers the Eye On College Football Blog gets you up to speed on what to look for on campuses around the country this spring. Today we look at Clemson.

Spring Practice Starts: March 7

Spring Game: April 14

Three Things To Look For

1. Raised expectations. The hope of returning the ACC title to Clemson had driven Tigers' programs for two decades until Dabo Swinney finally delivered the crown in December. But after the 2011 team "broke through the walls," as Swinney put it several times, the expectations changed completely for 2012. Bringing back all of the primary offensive skill players but Dwayne Allen, and hiring Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables has made 2012 a BCS or bust season. No longer will Clemson fans hope to avoid a letdown, instead they expect to compete for hardware from opening day. Not even a record-setting blowout loss in South Beach could shake the confidence of a new-attitude program hungry for more titles.

2. Improving the offensive line. With Tajh Boyd, Sammy Watkins, DeAndre Hopkins, and Andre Ellington all back, the Tigers are set with All-ACC talent at the skill positions. However, troubles along the offensive line prevented the unit from clicking during their late-season slide in 2011. The success of the offense relied too heavily on individuals like left tackle Phillip Price, and this spring should be an opportunity for offensive coordinator Chad Morris to get some depth and a solid rotation along the line. Price and fellow tackle Landon Walker are gone, leaving center Dalton Freeman as the only lineman with any significant game experience. Conditioning should no longer be an issue for offseason practice, either, with one full year of Morris' system under their belts.

3. Brent Venables' impact. The Tigers return just six starters on defense, and have a huge need on the defensive line to replace All-ACC graduates Brandon Thompson and Andre Branch. Former Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables enters as one of the most praised (and highest-paid) defensive coordinators in the ACC, but will have his work cut out with this young group of defenders. On one hand, it might be easier to teach a new system rather than have to un-teach Kevin Steele's complex scheme. On the other, he could end up seeing the same youthful mistakes that plagued the Tigers in 2011. Venables will have all eyes on his defense in 2012, and getting through to his unit this spring will be essential for Clemson's success in the fall.

For much more on Clemson as they go through Spring Practice, including the Top 3 Position Battles for the spring, follow Travis Sawchik's Tigers' RapidReports. For more spring previews around the ACC check out Spring Practice Home.

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Posted on: March 2, 2012 3:08 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: Oklahoma



Posted by Tom Fornelli


Spring football is in the air, and with our Spring Practice Primers the Eye On College Football Blog gets you up to speed on what to look for on campuses around the country this spring. Today we look at Oklahoma.

Spring Practice Starts: Monday, March 5

Spring Game: Saturday, April 14

Returning Starters: Eight offense, seven defense, both specialists

Three Things To Watch For:

1. Utilizing the Belldozer. One of the best things Oklahoma fans heard over the winter was that Landry Jones would be returning for another season. Still, we know what Oklahoma is going to get from Jones in 2012. What we can't be sure of is the role Blake Bell is going to play. In Oklahoma's final 6 games Bell rushed for 13 touchdowns and was seemingly unstoppable in short-yardage situations. You have to think that the Sooners are going to create more packages for Bell to utilize his abilities. Much like Florida did with Tim Tebow when Chris Leak was still around in 2006 and that worked out well for the Gators.

2. A shift in the defense. Mike Stoops is in as defensive coordinator and Brent Venables has left for Clemson. Here's what I feel confident in saying about the Oklahoma defense this season: with Stoops around, a talented secondary that was already one of the best in the Big 12 is going to get even better. The question is how Venables' absence will affect the linebackers and defensive line, with linebackers in particular being a Venables specialty. Spring practices will give us all our first clue as to how things will shake out.

3. Can a running back emerge? Dominique Whaley was a pleasant surprise for the Sooners in 2011, leading the team in rushing with 627 yards even though his year ended early thanks to a broken ankle. Because of that ankle, Whaley won't be participating in spring practice. Which means there are plenty of reps to go around for guys like Roy Finch, Brennan Clay, and incoming freshman Alex Ross. It would be a bonus for the Sooners if one of these backs steps up and shows they're capable of taking on a big role in the offense should Whaley have trouble coming back from injury.

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Posted on: January 20, 2012 3:38 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2012 3:39 pm
 

Clemson assistants among highest paid nationally

Posted by Chip Patterson

Brent Venables made a very difficult decision to leave Oklahoma and accept the open defensive coordinator position at Clemson. But the school made the decision much easier, reportedly rewarding Venables with a multi-year deal that will reportedly pay nearly $800,000 per season. That figure would make Venables the No. 3 most-compensated assistant coach nationally in 2012, just behind Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart.

But Venables joins a staff that includes the nation's No. 1 compensated assistant: offensive coordinator Chad Morris. In December, Morris agreed to a new deal with $1.3 million annually over six years. With Gus Malzahn accepting the head coaching position at Arkansas State, Morris moved into the top spot.

"We are getting one of the top coordinators in the nation," head coach Dabo Swinney said in regards to Venables' arrival. "I appreciate the commitment from the Clemson administration. This hire shows everyone at Clemson wants us to be the best we can possibly be."

With the No. 1 and No. 3 highest paid assistants on the staff, there will be expectations for on-field results from the school. The Tigers just won their first ACC Championship since 1991. With this kind of investment from the school, competing for conference titles are now the norm. If Clemson is not in the ACC Atlantic Division title hunt each season with this staff, the fan base will let their displeasure known. After this kind of investment, no one will accept "Clemson pulling a Clemson."

CBSSports.com's Travis Sawchik pointed out Clemson's 8-0 start as one reason for the investment in the football program. University president James Barker was impressed by the campus energy and increase in undergraduate applications during the Tigers' fast start this fall. Clemson is just another example of a school using their football program to expose the university on a national level.

For more on Brent Venables and Clemson, follow Travis Sawchik and Tigers RapidReports

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Posted on: January 19, 2012 3:05 pm
Edited on: January 19, 2012 3:06 pm
 

PODCAST: 2011 College Football Season Wrapup

Posted by Adam Jacobi

J. Darin Darst and Adam Aizer give some final thoughts on the BCS Championship Game and the 2011 season as a whole. The SEC dominated again, USC is back and conference expansion is annoying. The guys also look at some recent coaching news. Will Brent Venables be a good hire for Clemson? Did Wisconsin take a risk by hiring Matt Canada as offensive coordinator? 

Remember, all of the CBSSports.com College Football Podcasts can be downloaded for FREE from the iTunes Store.

You can listen to the podcast in the player below, pop out a player to keep browsing, or download the MP3 right to your computer.

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Posted on: January 18, 2012 11:46 pm
 

Report: Brent Venables is going to Clemson

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Finally it seems that one of the strangest coaching searches I've ever seen involving an assistant coach has come to an end. After a night of speculation that saw people reporting that Brent Venables was doing everything but running for President, it's now being reported that Venables has indeed accepted the defensive coordinator position at Clemson.

And I think it's serious this time.

The Oklahoman's Travis Haney tweeted, along with others, that Venables had confirmed to him that he's leaving Oklahoma for Clemson. 

Which should be good news for a Clemson defense that can use a tune-up. The Tigers allowed 70 points to West Virginia in the Orange Bowl and gave up 29.3 points per game during the 2011 season. Since joining Bob Stoops' staff at Oklahoma in 1999 as a co-defensive coordinator, Venables' defenses in Norman have routinely been some of the best in the country, churning out NFL players and keeping the Sooners in title contention year after year.

If he can bring that same kind of success to Clemson and the Tigers combine it with their potent offense, the school could become quite a force in the ACC.

As for why Venables would suddenly leave Oklahoma after spending the last 12 years there, it all started when Mike Stoops was brought back to the Sooners from Arizona. Rather than share defensive coordinator duties with Stoops, Venables decided he'd rather start somewhere new. He'd also been mentioned as a candidate at West Virginia since the announcement of Stoops' return.

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Posted on: January 18, 2012 6:28 pm
Edited on: January 18, 2012 7:27 pm
 

The Brent Venables situation gets crazier

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Brent Venables Saga is no longer a saga and has now become The Brent Venables Variety Hour.

According to multiple reports on Twitter Wednesday evening, Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables was all set to become Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables. He had interviewed for the position last weekend, and after a few days of speculation, it seemed a decision had finally been made.

Turns out nothing is settled yet.

After Twitter was set ablaze with "Venables to Clemson" tweets, Venables texted the Tulsa World's Dave Sittler to let him know that he was staying at Oklahoma.

Shortly after that tweet, Sittler tweeted again, saying that he may have misunderstood Venables' meaning. Venables later texted to the Tulsa World's John Hoover that he was "working through some details" and that "nothing was final either way."

In other words, in the last week Venables has gone from West Virginia, to Clemson, back to Oklahoma, to Clemson once again, followed by a return trip to Oklahoma, but could still finish his trip at Clemson. Confused? Don't worry, so are we.

At the moment it seems that people jumped the gun on Venables taking the Clemson job because the school wasn't finished doing a background check on him, and that no official contract offer had been made. However, the prevailing feeling at the moment is that once the background check is complete, the offer will be made and that Venables will accept it.

So that's where things currently stand as of now. Where will they stand in another five minutes? Nobody knows. The only thing I know for sure is that I've got a headache from watching this story go back and forth.

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Posted on: January 18, 2012 2:15 pm
 

Report: Venables not interested in Kansas State

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Another day has come and gone and Brent Venables is still at Oklahoma. There's been a lot of speculation about Venables' future since Mike Stoops joined the Oklahoma staff, as he was mentioned as a replacement for Jeff Casteel at West Virginia, and he's interviewed at Clemson as well. Following the news on Tuesday that Chris Cosh had left Kansas State to become defensive coordinator at South Florida, plenty of people did the math and wondered if Venables would move to Manhattan.

He is a Kansas State graduate after all.

It seems that speculation can be put to rest. The Tulsa World's Dave Sittler tweeted on Wednesday that Venables is "absolutely not interested" in taking the defensive coordinator job at Kansas State. Which does come as a bit of a surprise. As mentioned above, Venables did go to school at Kansas State, and with Bill Snyder being 72 years old, you have to wonder how much longer he'll be sticking around to run the program.

So it's possible that Venables could take the job at Kansas State as the "head coach in waiting." A position that hasn't had a lot of success at other schools recently -- hey, Bill Stewart, how you doing? --  but Venables has shown plenty of interest in becoming a head coach before. Maybe his priorities have changed, or maybe he's just not sure how much success he could have at Kansas State.

After all, there's a lot more defensive talent at Oklahoma than there is in Manhattan.

Whatever the case is, it seems that Venables has narrowed his choices down to staying at Oklahoma or going to Clemson. We'll likely find out his decision soon enough.

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Posted on: January 16, 2012 12:12 pm
 

Brent Venables still with the Sooners, for now

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Ever since it was announced that Mike Stoops would be returning to Oklahoma to join his brother Bob Stoops' staff, there have been questions about defensive coordinator Brent Venables' future at the school. Mike Stoops was officially announced as Oklahoma's new defensive backs coach and as the co-defensive coordinator along with Venables, but since the announcement, Venables' name has come up at a few other schools.

Last week Venables was reportedly interviewing with Dana Holgorsen at West Virginia after Jeff Casteel left the school to go to Arizona. Venables then took himself out of the running and left with Mike Stoops on Friday to do some recruiting in Florida. Instead of returning back to Norman, though, Venables then spent the rest of his weekend interviewing with Dabo Swinney about becoming defensive coordinator at Clemson.

There had been reports that Venables had accepted the Clemson job, but upon returning to Norman on Sunday, Venables would neither confirm or deny being offered the Clemson job.

According to the Tulsa World, Dabo Swinney still wants to interview former Miami head coach Randy Shannon and maybe a few others before making a final decision.

Whether or not Venables takes the Clemson job probably won't be known until later in the week, but the signs seem to be indicating that he's either set on leaving the Sooners. He has interviewed for head coaching positions many times while at Oklahoma, but he'd never interviewed to be a defensive coordinator at another school during that time. Now he's done so twice in the last week.

I just don't think that happens if he's happy with the idea of splitting his coaching duties with Stoops.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com