Tag:West Virginia
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 18, 2012 11:38 am
Edited on: January 18, 2012 12:41 pm
 

Pitt, Syracuse not likely on 2012 ACC schedule

Posted by Chip Patterson

With very little warning, the ACC made one of the most prominent moves in conference realignment in the middle of the 2011 regular season with the addition of Pittsburgh and Syracuse from the Big East. The bylaw-mandated 27-month exit period was thought to be negotiable, but all signs from Big East commissioner John Marinatto indicate that the league will hold all departing members to full withdrawal process.

Following the process outlined in the bylaws would hold off the conference move until the 2014-2015 academic year. While the ACC has made it clear they are prepared to work with the Big East to get Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the league sooner, they have not made any legal efforts to expedite the process. With the release of the ACC regular season schedule coming in early February, it is beginning to look unlikely that either school will be in the ACC for the 2012 season.

"You never say never, but it's unlikely there would be major changes once [the schedule] is set," Mike Finn, ACC associate commissioner in charge of football communications, told The Charlotte Observer.

The SEC and Pac-12 have both released their conference schedules for 2012, and the rest of the major conferences will likely follow suit in the next several weeks. The ACC released the 2011 league schedule on Feb. 14.

While the ACC seems comfortable waiting out the exit period, West Virginia is having a much more difficult time leaving the Big East. Both the school and the conference have filed competing lawsuits regarding West Virginia's plans to join the Big 12, and a Rhode Island judge has ordered both parties to enter non-binding mediation. West Virginia hopes to reach a settlement allowing the school to join the Big 12 in time for the 2012 season, while the league has no plans of making exception to the bylaws. A status conference has been scheduled for Feb. 9, as both parties hope to reach a resolution before the Big East and Big 12 release their conference schedules.

When the Big East releases their schedule for 2012, I would expect to see West Virginia, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse on the slate. If the Big 12 includes West Virginia as well, it could lead to potentially massive headaches for both conferences. It seems as though the ACC is content avoiding the legalities and welcoming their new additions at a later date.

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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 2:07 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2012 2:10 pm
 

ASU president on Todd Graham: "It was not normal"

Posted by Bryan Fischer

INDIANAPOLIS -- To say the departure of head coach Todd Graham from Pittsburgh was messy might be understating things a little. Not only was it a surprising hire by Arizona State, but the reaction from Panthers players elevated to the point of vitriol.

Nearly a month after Graham was formally introduced in Tempe, Arizona State president Michael Crow, speaking on a panel at the NCAA convention, said that the reason there was such a fuss about him leaving was due in large part because of the Pitt administration.

"We made one offer and had one answer. It was a simple process," Crow said. "He caught a lot of flak because he was unable to talk to his team. We requested permission to speak to him and (Pitt) said no. For him to speak to us, he had to resign and then he could no longer speak to his players. We don't set those rules, we asked for an opportunity and didn't get it."

Graham is one of several new hires in the Pac-12 known primarily for fast-paced offense, which is interesting when you consider he was defensive coordinator at West Virginia and Tulsa. Still, outside of last season at Pitt, where the Panthers ranked 88th in the country in total offense and struggled with turnovers, Graham had the background that fit with exactly what Arizona State was looking for.

"What we set out to do was hire a head coach who had experience in playing football the way we wanted to - no huddle offense," Crow said. "We wanted the environment of a teach as opposed to the model of a professional coach. It's just a different model. We happen to think that in our environment, that's the model that we need. When we looked around the country, there were a few individuals on the list and Coach Graham was one of them."

The school was aware that Graham's father-in-law lives in Arizona and that he and his wife were already looking at houses in the Phoenix area before the ASU job even opened up. Because of a long interview process, Crow was one of several administrators who didn't seem to have a problem with the fact that their new head coach would have two "one-and-done" coaching stops on his resume and was firmly committed to building the program into a conference title contender.

"When you sit and spend hours with someone and talk to references about them, you get a better sense of the character of the person," he said. "You go from Tulsa to Rice and then back to Tulsa in one year, what's the reason? You talk to the people at Rice and you find out yes, there was a reason. You go to Pittsburgh and ask why you go to Pittsburgh, why don't you like Pittsburgh, what's going on? There's an explanation, coaches can have explanations like 'My family doesn't like it here, we'd really like to be somewhere else.'

"I'm not worried about that as an element of his character. His body of work as an assistant coach, as a high school coach, at Rice, why he moved from Rice back to Tulsa where he'd been an assistant (is good). The Pittsburgh thing I saw as an aberration. It was not his normal behavior."

We're guessing a few people in the Northeast disagree however.


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: January 12, 2012 1:14 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2012 1:56 pm
 

DC Kevin Steele will not return to Clemson

Posted by Chip Patterson

Clemson defensive coordinator Kevin Steele will not return next season, the school announced on Thursday.

“I have had a great experience at Clemson and feel good about what we have accomplished the last three years,” said Steele in an official release. “But, there are some other coaching opportunities I wish to pursue at this time.

“It has been rewarding to see this program grow to the point of winning Clemson’s first ACC Championship in 20 years. I want to thank the coaches and players who worked so hard these last three years. Clemson is a special place and I wish the program and the players continued success.”

Steele has served as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach since 2009, and is considered one of the ACC's better recruiters. But Clemson's defensive performance in 2011 was less than ideal, coming to a head in the record-breaking 70-33 Orange Bowl loss to West Virginia.

No defense in bowl history has allowed 70 points in a game, especially on a national stage like the Orange Bowl. As West Virginia rolled off touchdown after touchdown - including five second-quarter scores - Steele stood on the sideline as the center of attention for an angry and frustrated fan base.

The Tigers ranked 81st nationally in scoring defense (allowing 29.2 points per game), only better than Duke and Maryland in the ACC. This coming just one year after leading the conference in the same category, and with all-conference defensive linemen Brandon Thompson and Andre Branch in the lineup.

“Although we were inconsistent at times with a young defense this year, overall we have been one of the best defenses in the country the last three years under his direction, head coach Dabo Swinney said in a prepared statement.  "I thank him for his hard work and dedication to our program and wish him nothing but the best.”

Steele is considered one of the bright defensive minds in the game, serving as executive head coach and linebackers' coach for Bobby Bowden at Florida State and two season's on Nick Saban's Alabama staff before arriving at Clemson. But Steele's schemes did not seem to work with the Tigers' young personnel, and Clemson was repeatedly burned for big plays in 2011 because of breakdowns in the linebackers and secondary.

Follow Travis Sawchik's Tigers RapidReports for more on this story, including potential replacements for Dabo Swinney's staff.

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Posted on: January 11, 2012 7:28 pm
 

Casteel officially joins Arizona's staff

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It's one of the college football world's worst-kept secrets of the last few weeks, as it was hinted at yesterday -- and Arizona actually had Jeff Casteel's bio on its website on Tuesday -- but the news became official on Wednesday evening. West Virginia's defensive coordinator, Jeff Casteel, has left the program to reunite with Rich Rodriguez in Arizona.

“I have enjoyed my time at West Virginia University, and it’s been 11 great years," said Casteel in a release. "I have coached some outstanding young men, and I would like to thank them for their hard work and dedication. I want to thank the coaches and staff members I have been associated with during my time at WVU for their work and support. The fans also have been great, and I want to thank them as well."

Casteel was on Rodriguez's West Virginia staff from 2001 to 2007, taking over as defensive coordinator in 2002. 

Casteel is not alone either, as West Virginia's also losing two other coaches from its defensive staff to Arizona in cornerbacks coach Dave Lockwood and defensive line coach Bill Kirelawich. Which means that Rodriguez's defensive staff at Arizona is complete and that while Dana Holgorsen's offense seemed to finally figure things out in the Orange Bowl, he'll now have to start over on the defensive side of the ball. 

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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