When the Oklahoma Sooners needed a new head coach in late November — after Lincoln Riley surprisingly left to become the new head coach at USC — they turned to a familiar face.

The Sooners hired longtime Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables to replace Riley.

Venables spent 13 seasons on Oklahoma’s staff under Bob Stoops from 1999-2011.

Nearly every offseason, Venables was a name that was mentioned in various coaching searches. And every offseason, Venables rebuffed overtures from programs.

Oklahoma, however, is a place dear to Venables. He couldn’t tell the Sooners no. It’s seemingly a match made in heaven.

But that doesn’t mean Venables is a perfect coach (he has a lot to prove as a first-time head coach).

On Monday, we saw the first red flag from Venables — his insecurity.

Here’s what happened:

Oklahoma quarterback Caleb Williams, a former five-star recruit, hit the transfer portal on Monday. It was a move that had been rumored since Riley left, but there was some hope that Williams would stick around in Norman.

While this was the biggest college football news of the day, it wasn’t exactly shocking. Marquee players hitting the transfer portal is becoming the norm in college football.

Venables and Oklahoma didn’t handle the news well.

Sooners athletic director Joe Castiglione and Venables released a joint statement that reeks of desperation and insecurity.


This statement comes across as slamming Williams — albeit politely — for his decision to leave Oklahoma. Castiglione and Venables act as though there’s nowhere else Williams could realize his goals.

That’s not the worst part of the statement though. The worst part is easily the part about offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby.

Castiglione and Venables are so insecure about the state of their program that they feel they need to advertise Lebby as an elite offensive coordinator. And look, I agree that Lebby is one of the best offensive coordinators in the nation. But this isn’t a statement that a prestigious program like Oklahoma should be making. The Sooners’ success over the last 20 years should speak for itself. This comes across as an incredibly amateur move.

Coaches who are insecure never work out. They tend to micromanage — which is a surefire way to ruin a program.

Venables is going down a dangerous path. If he wants to be successful at Oklahoma — and eventually in the SEC — he needs to quit worrying about perception and just worry about the product on the field.

Ultimately, that’s all that really matters.

Featured image via Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports