Venables has high hopes for ‘very hungry’ Sooners

  • Chris Low, ESPN Senior WriterApr 15, 2024, 08:58 PM ET


    • College football press reporter
    • Signed up with in 2007
    • Graduate of the University of Tennessee

NORMAN, Okla.– Brent Venables, entering his 3rd season as Oklahoma’s football coach, isn’t one to make predictions.But he is a big follower

when it comes to experience– both his experience in the coaching profession and his group’s experience. He informed ESPN on Monday that top to bottom, this has actually been the most competitive offseason the Sooners have actually had considering that his arrival in Norman. “We’ve got one of the most depth of leaders that we have actually had, and this is the first year we have guys who will be going on their third year in the program, “Venables said.”That’s a huge part of constructing a stable, strong, constant environment and building a group.”The Sooners, who are making the relocate to the SEC this year, enhanced from 6-7 to 10-3 in the 2nd season under Venables. He understands firsthand what champion groups appear like. He was Clemson’s defensive coordinator on its 2016 and 2018 national championship teams. And while he isn’t suggesting Oklahoma has reached that status, he stated he has seen enough of this club to understand it’s moving in the ideal instructions. The Sooners will wrap up spring practice on Saturday with their annual spring game.”It goes all the way back to my days with Expense Snyder,”stated Venables, who played for Snyder at Kansas State and later on worked under him with the Wildcats for six seasons.”Having those strong, experienced voices has been a part of every excellent locker room that I’ve been around and every winning environment that I have actually been around. That’s a foundational thing, and it would be that way for any kind of service. “Two of the most significant wins this offseason for OU were getting back linebacker Danny Stutsman and safety Billy Bowman Jr. for the 2024 campaign

after they both contemplated going pro.Stutsman, who led the Sooners with 16 takes on for loss, initially chose that he was going into the NFL draft before altering his mind. However when he went to sleep that night, he said something just didn’t feel right. In particular, he couldn’t swallow the idea of leaving Oklahoma without ever having won a champion. “Before I got here, Oklahoma won six Big 12 champions in a row, “stated Stutsman, a third-team Associated Press All-American last season.”Coming here, you found out how difficult it actually is to do something

like that. I wish to get Oklahoma back on that path. That’s what the requirement is. You look around in our indoor center and all you see are banners. That’s inspiration each and every single day for us. These guys that have actually been here in this program, the guys being available in, we’re extremely hungry. We’re malnourished.Editor’s Picks 2 Associated”There’s not a great deal of jewelry in my trophy case today.”The Sooners began 7-0 last season and beat Texas 34-30 on Oct. 7, but they closed October by falling to Kansas 38-33 and lost a week later on to Oklahoma State 27-24 in the last Chaos Series game for the

foreseeable future. They also lost to Arizona in their bowl game.Venables has preached consistency since last season ended, particularly on 2023, Oklahoma showed improvement on defense from its very first season under Venables. The Sooners ranked 48th nationally in scoring defense (23.5 points per game)after ranking 99th in 2022 (30 points per game ). Nevertheless, in 2 of their 3 losses in 2023, they allowed 38 points, and they also quit 45 points in a win over TCU to end the regular season.”Danny and Billy are back and invested

in Oklahoma for all the best reasons, which sets a tone,”Venables stated. “There’s a continuity aspect of it too. However the best teams, best players and best units correspond. If there’s something you’re going to be proficient at, you better correspond. Which side of the ball [defense], in specific, was everything but consistent.

“Anticipate a makeover for Oklahoma on offense, including first-year starting quarterback Jackson Arnold. And with Jeff Lebby relocating to Mississippi State as head coach, previous North Texas head coach Seth Littrell moves over from expert to offensive planner. What’s more, OU’s offending line will be totally reconstructed after losing 6 linemen from a season ago who made starts.Arnold played in the Alamo Bowl versus Arizona and passed for 361

lawns and 2 touchdowns, but he likewise tossed 3 interceptions. Now that there’s no question he is the starter with Dillon Gabriel moving to Oregon, Arnold has actually become more of a leader this spring, maybe not so much vocally but by the method he has actually carried himself on the practice field.”It’s like any leader. You don’t bless leadership,” Venables stated.”Leadership, to me, is action.

It’s not a title. It’s not a position. It’s action, and Jackson has been a doer. He’s a worker. He’s courageous. He goes out in front. He’s more and more comfortable in front of the guys, and he’s tough on himself, demanding of himself.” He has broad shoulders and draws out the very best in people.”Arnold invested the very first part of his childhood in the Atlanta area and was a huge University of Georgia fan, so he is pumped to be playing in the SEC. He stated he likewise is thrilled to see what he states will be a more explosive version of Oklahoma’s offense this season. “We’re going to take shots,”Arnold said. “We’re going to throw the ball around the yard, but Coach Littrell wishes to be very dominant in the run

game too, which I love because it matches our pass game. We have actually

got some playmakers that can go catch the ball, capture the ball 2 lawns from the line of scrimmage and take it to your home.” Venables, whose very first Oklahoma group in 2022 lost 5 of its 7 games by 7 points or less, said he has a better feel for this group of players.

He stated the roster only altered by about 30%this offseason, whereas it changed by 50 %throughout each of the previous two offseasons.”There’s still a lot of work to do, and that’s the offseason, summertime, fall camp and our players’dedication in the summertime, “Venables stated.”This team’s got incredible capacity, but this is a game of efficiency and a game of

doing, not a game of talking and potential. We require to have a fantastic offseason, and the level of our commitment will identify what kind of group that we’re going to have and have the ability to contend week in and week out in a conference that can be unforgiving.”

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