Mike Stoops returning to the sidelines isn't the only news about the Oklahoma Sooners coaching staff that is popping. Defensive coordinator Brent Venables is considering some outside offers, too, according to media reports that surfaced today.
Dave Sittler of the Tulsa World reported this morning that West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen has offered Venables a job as his coordinator. Supposedly, Venables may be in the mix at Clemson as well on the heels of Dabo Swinney's dismissal of Kevin Steele.
Venables' name is undoubtedly coming up in light of Stoops' return. This raises an important question: Is Venables shopping around, or are suitors sensing blood in the water?
If Venables is looking for a new gig, it would suggest he isn't content with the new power-sharing arrangement. That would portend trouble for the staff going forward if Venables passes on these opportunities.
The idea that Venables would have itchy feet makes sense. From the outside looking in, this looks like a demotion for a guy who has been running his own show since 2005.
On the other hand, consider that Mike Stoops' return to OU hasn't exactly been top secret. The speculation started almost as soon as he got the ax at Arizona and the rumors really heated up as the Sooner D fell apart late in the season. There has been so much smoke that you could barely see the fire raging beneath it.
By all accounts, Venables, Bob and Mike are tight. They've worked together for a long time. The idea that Venables somehow wasn't at least consulted about the move seems far-fetched.
So, are we to believe that Venables just decided to start putting his name out there, despite knowing this has been coming for weeks? Has he been out on the road recruiting for kicks?
Furthermore, does leaving for West Virginia or Clemson get him any closer to being a head coach somewhere? WVU is stepping up in competition next season, and the defense has been running Jeff Casteel's 3-3-5 for years. Taking over the Mountaineer D could theoretically set Venables' career track back even farther, in that respect. Likewise, Swinney constantly seems to be walking a tightrope with Clemson's brass and boosters. Is rolling the dice on a position that you could lose at a moment's notice worth it to Venables?
Add it all up, and you have plenty of reason to think OU still has a decent shot at keeping Venables in the fold.