Oklahoma football: OU hiring new defensive coordinator to replace Ted Roof


Following a season in which the Oklahoma football defense showed giant strides of improvement, the school and defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Ted Roof have mutually agreed to his departure from the team.

Head coach Brent Venables hired Roof from the Clemson staff when he became head coach of the Sooners two seasons ago. Since the announcement on Thursday that Roof was departing, multiple sources are reporting that the Sooners are set to hire Zac Alley, defensive coordinator at Jacksonville State to the same replace Roof in the job at Oklahoma.

Since the end of the regular season, in which the Sooners finished 10-2, changes have been made in both the offensive coordinator role and at defensive coordinator. Offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby was named head coach at Mississippi State at the end of the season. Current OU staff members Seth Littrell and Joe Jon Finley were named co-offensive coordinators to replace Lebby.

Venables said in a statement released by the OU athletic department that he told Roof on Wednesday that he had decided to go in a new direction at defensive coordinator and offered him an opportunity to remain on the staff in a different role. Roof informed Venables that he a deep desire to keep coaching and will look to do that at a different school.

Under Roof's leadership, the Sooners improved from 98th in scoring defense (30 points a game) and 121st in total defense (461 yards allowed per game) in 2022 to 46th and 78th in both categories, respectively, this past season. In addition, OU ranked second nationally this season in interceptions (20), sixth in turnovers gained (26), seventh in tackles for loss per game (7.5) and 14th in third-down conversion percentage defense (31.1).

The 30-year-old Alley has spent the past two seasons at Jacksonville State. Before that he was at Louisiana-Monroe, where he became the youngest defensive coordinator in the FBS at 28. Alley also spent a couple of seasons at Boise State, where he was co-special teams coordinator and linebackers coach.

Alley may be a relative unknown to Sooner fans, but Venables knows him well. Alley got his coaching start under Venables, serving as a student assistant and then a graduate assistant at Clemson from 2015 to 2018.

Under Alley, Jacksonville State led Conference USA this season in almost every defensive statistical category, including total yards, rushing yards, yards per carry, sacks, forced fumbles and total touchdowns.