Oklahoma football: Speed of Brent Venables’ impact may surprise many

New OU football coach Brent Venables has rallied the fan base since returning to Norman.venables1
New OU football coach Brent Venables has rallied the fan base since returning to Norman.venables1 /

With spring practice set to start, the new Brent Venables era of Oklahoma football is feeling more real every day and with it the early anticipation for another exciting season of Sooner success.

One of the topical conversations this offseason in college football is: Who among the new head coaches will have the biggest impact in his first season in his new job? You would expect former Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley to be a popular choice among the experts., given the instant talent infusion he has added at USC but don’t count out Riley’s replacement, Brent Venables at OU.

If you missed it, ESPN’s college football staff recently had a coaching roundtable discussion about which head coach had the most to prove next season and which new head coach would have the biggest impact in his debut season.

On the subject of which head coach would make the biggest splash, Riley, as expected was the popular choice, in both categories actually. Among the new head coaches for 2022, the names of Jay Norvell at Colorado State, Mario Cristobal at Miami, Brian Kelley at LSU, Billy Napier at Florida were all mentioned, as was Venables at OU.

ESPN staff writer Adam Rittenberg went against the majority, picking Venables as the new coach who would have the greatest impact on the 2022 college football season. Here, in part, is what Rittenberg had to say about his selection of the OU head coach:

“In the interest of variety, I’m going with the man who replaces him (Riley) at Oklahoma. Brent Venables generated a lot of immediate goodwill because he sees Oklahoma as a destination job.

"“…But Venables must show he’s not like Riley, at least when it comes to developing a championship-caliber defense…“The Big 12 is changing to feature a more complementary, physical style of play, and Venables’ arrival couldn’t be much better.“OU’s ability to win this new version of the Big 12 comes down to improving talent and execution on defense, which is a reasonable Year 1 goal for Venables.”"

There may be a slight drop off by the offense, but the Sooners still have plenty of playmakers on the offensive side of the ball, and with a stronger, more physical and aggressive defense, which you can be sure is a high priority for the new OU head coach, is likely to be even better under Venables.

Again, the timing couldn’t be better with Oklahoma headed to the SEC in the next one or two years.