Since joining Clemson prior to the 2012 season, Brent Venables has constructed one of the nation's top defenses.
Over the last 10 years, the Tigers rank first nationally in sacks (445; next most is 392) and opponent third-down conversion percentage (30.2%), second in opponent pass efficiency rating (111.1) and takeaways (244; tied), third in scoring defense (17.8 ppg) and opponent completion percentage (53.3), fourth in total defense (311.4 ypg) and pass defense (190.5 ypg), fifth in interceptions (148) and sixth in rushing defense (120.9 ypg). They won conference titles each year from 2015-20.
However, those last 10 years, which arguably groomed him for the job that he now holds, were as defensive coordinator for the Clemson Tigers.
In a statement Sunday night, Venables naturally thanked the people who made it possible and then expressed his excitement.
This was obviously a generic statement. So no harm.
Then when he arrived at the airport, to thousands of fans, he gave an interview to SoonerSports.
This is where he had a second opportunity to acknowledge the previous 10 years.
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This time Clemson finished the game
This time Clemson finished the job. The last time the Tigers were at Littlejohn Coliseum, they blew a 23-point lead in a devastating two-point loss to Boston College.
"This is absolutely amazing," Venables said Sunday from the airport. "No surprise. The best college football fans in America. The passion, the love for their Sooners, second to none. Just an amazing opportunity to come home. I am related to four young kids who that were born right here in Norma, Oklahoma. It’s great to bring them home. They were young when we left, 10 years ago. God willing, he works his miracles in all kinds of ways and gave us an opportunity to come back here 10 years later and show them where they’re from.”
“We left and it was great, but coming back to this is just absolutely overwhelming," Venables added about being offered the job. “It’s been very surreal, almost numbing to be honest with you. Like, c’mon, no way this is going to happen. Something’s going happen to screw it up. There’s plenty of fabulous coaches across the country, really are. So I’m just very, very thankful and very fortunate.
"President Harris and Joe Castiglione, the administration, the Board of Trustees, this university can have any coach in the country and any coach in the country would love the opportunity to be here in my shoes.”
This is where much of the Clemson fanbase began to get riled up. Thinking, "Wait a second. What about Dabo? What about Clemson? What about the last 10 years?"
He saved those remarks for the most meaningful time—his introductory ceremony in front of all of Sooner Nation.
"Then Coach Swinney at Clemson. Y'all know that that's we've had incredible success there," Venables said Monday. "The secret sauce there is the people, like any great family and great organizations it's the people. And I've grown more in these last 10 years holistically as a man as a husband, as a father, as a coach, as a believer than I have the rest of my life. And I'm just incredibly indebted to their family there. And I wouldn't be standing here today if it wasn't a gift for his belief. In Me and his lovely wife, Kathleen and their children. They're like family.
"To my players at Clemson. Y'all know and the former players that are there. The only reason that I'm standing up here is because of your work, your passion, your love, your commitment and again, I'm just grateful for those relationships."