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Oklahoma's Brent Venables Ranked No. 6 Among New Coaching Hires

While USA Today ranks the Venables hire at No. 8, YardBarker has Venables at No. 6.

The coaching carousel was turning in high gear in 2021, and Oklahoma’s hire of Brent Venables has been widely applauded.

On Friday, YardBarker ranked the Venables hire No. 6 nationally behind Brian Kelly to LSU, Lincoln Riley to USC, Marcus Freeman’s promotion at Notre Dame, Billy Napier to Florida and Mario Cristobal to Miami.

Earlier this week, USA Today ranked the Venables hire No. 8 among this year’s new coach cycle — on the low side for Sooner fans’ liking, to be sure, but when put in national perspective, it’s a solid ranking.

National college football writer Paul Myerberg ranks Miami’s hire of Cristobal, the former Hurricanes player and most recently the Oregon head coach, at No. 1. Cristobal’s old team takes on Venables’ future team next Wednesday in the Alamo Bowl.

Myerberg ranked the hire of Riley — Venables’ predecessor — at USC as the second-best hire of the silly season.

In all, 28 teams have new head coaches this season.

TCU’s hire of SMU coach Sonny Dykes ranks No. 3, per USA Today, while YardBarker ranked the Dykes hire No. 17.

Texas Tech’s hire of Joey McGuire ranks No. 12 per USA Today, but No. 23 per YardBarker. Former Texas Tech interim coach Sonny Cumbie’s hire at Louisiana Tech is ranked No. 24.

Former Sooners assistant Jay Norvell’s hire at Colorado State after a successful run at Nevada was ranked No. 18 by YardBarker.

YardBarker also ranks Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning’s hire at Oregon at No. 8.

Outsiders look mostly at the empirical evidence around Venables’ hiring: defensive coordinator at Clemson during the Tigers’ best decade in school history, won two national championships, played for two others, repeatedly sent Tiger defensive players into the NFL Draft.

But there’s more to the Venables hire than just his last coaching stop.

His previous time at Oklahoma — 13 outrageously successful seasons, a national title, three runner-up trophies, seven conference titles — made him the ideal candidate to step into the big chair during a turbulent time.

His defensive background may be just what the program and the fan base need after Riley’s offense-dominated tenure.

Venables brought instant stability to a program that was sent reeling by Riley’s shocking exit, saving the 2022 recruiting class and injecting positive energy and optimism to a program that was on its heels.

Venables seems like the right hire at the right time, someone who understands Oklahoma's expectations firsthand and yet owns a championship pedigree and can mold a new culture from the program he loves. 

History will be a better judge of the 2021 coaching hires, and most OU fans can’t wait for that history to unfold.