Tag:Mike Stoops
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 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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Posted on: January 12, 2012 1:33 pm

Mike Stoops in at OU, Venables out?

Posted by Tom Fornelli

While it was first reported that former Arizona head coach Mike Stoops would be returning to Oklahoma to coach on his brother Bob Stoops' staff after Oklahoma's win over Iowa in the Insight Bowl, nothing had been announced officially on the subject. That is, until now.

“I'm on my way to Oklahoma this afternoon,” Mike Stoops told The Oklahoman. “It's just going through some formalities at this point.” 

It's what those formalities are that cause a bit of confusion. When it was first reported that Mike Stoops was returning to Oklahoma, it was said that he'd coach the defensive backs and be a co-defensive coordinator alongside Brent Venables. Whether that will end up being the case or not has now been brought into question.

The Tulsa World reported on Thursday that Venables has talked with West Virginia about its vacant defensive coordinator position. Jeff Casteel left Dana Holgorsen's staff on Wednesday to reunite with Rich Rodriguez on his new Arizona coaching staff. If Venables did leave Oklahoma for West Virginia, he'd likely be co-defensive coordinator as well, but unlike at Oklahoma where he'd have to defer to Mike Stoops -- blood is thicker than water after all -- he'd be the lead defensive coach on Holgorsen's staff.

So it's clear right now that there will be some shakeups on Oklahoma's coaching staff this season, though we don't know how big they'll be just yet. Though, in my opinion, it's hard to see Venables staying at Oklahoma at this point where he'd suffer a sort of demotion rather than taking the West Virginia job.

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Posted on: December 31, 2011 1:41 am
Edited on: December 31, 2011 1:42 am

Mike Stoops to join Oklahoma staff?

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Late in the fourth quarter of Oklahoma's 31-14 victory over Iowa in the Insight Bowl, ESPN's sideline reporter Heather Cox broke some news, saying that there were "strong indications" that former Arizona head coach Mike Stoops would be joining Oklahoma's coaching staff. Cox reported that Stoops had been on both the Oklahoma sideline and in the coaches box during the game.

Mike Stoops, of course, is the brother of Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops. He was relieved of is head coaching duties at Arizona earlier this season.

While it's not official, Cox also reported that there could be a possible announcement in the coming days, and that Stoops would serve as a co-defensive coordinator with Brent Venables.

Stoops' name has been mentioned at quite a few schools since he lost his job at Arizona, including at Iowa, ironically enough, as Iowa defensive coordinator Norm Parker coached his final game with the Hawkeyes on Friday night. Both Mike and Bob Stoops went to school at Iowa, and Stoops was an assistant at the school in the late 80s.

Stoops spent five seasons with the Sooners as an assistant under his brother from 1999 to 2003, including Oklahoma's last national championship in 2000.
Posted on: December 1, 2011 1:07 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2011 1:08 pm

Report: Mike Stoops offered Ohio St. DC job

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Now that Urban Meyer has officially taken the head coach job at Ohio State the process to fill out the rest of Meyer's coaching staff has begun, and reportedly Urban has his eyes on former Arizona head coach Mike Stoops.

According to a report from Oklahoma's News9.com, Stoops has been offered the co-defensive coordinator job at Ohio State. The report did not indicate whether Stoops will accept the job, and says that he's been offered opportunities to become a head coach at a few other undisclosed schools as well.

Then there's the option of Stoops returning to Oklahoma to coach alongside current Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables and under his brother, Bob Stoops.

Mike Stoops spent five seasons at Oklahoma before moving on to take the head coaching position at Arizona in 2004. He spent eight seasons at Arizona, appearing in three bowl games, before being fired this season after getting off to a 1-5 start.
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