For those that have missed it, there have been a few rumors this week about Brent Venables and head coaching positions. On Sunday CBS Sports reported that Arkansas was considering Venables as one of their top candidates. Then on Monday Mississippi State apparently wanted to interview Clemson’s DC as well. Scout even “reported” that Venables had already interviewed with Mississippi State, which seems highly unlikely. More likely he’s just a top candidate.
A few things on this, first don’t expect rumors like this to stop. Brent Venables is possibly the most accomplished coordinator in the country. He has success at 2 national programs and has put amazing defenses on the field for Oklahoma and Clemson. He’s become a national personality as well with his intense demeanor and a designated “get back” coach. Until Venables wants and takes a job we are going to hear speculation about Venables every December.
But that is the key, Coach Venables has to want the job. To be frank, if Venables ultimate goal was to be a head coach as quickly as possibly he likely never would have arrived at Clemson. He’s been a DC or co-DC since 1999. Experience stopped being an issue in 2007 or so.
Yet that has never been Venables ultimate goal, something a lot of media and fans forget when playing the coaching carousel guessing game. When Venables has spoken on the subject of becoming a head coach he talks a lot about the right fit. He’s not in a rush to be a head coach and he’s seen enough success and failure that he knows that even the best coach in the country isn’t going to fix a program like South Carolina, or Kansas. And that’s why Mississippi State and Arkansas are unlikely.
To begin, both school are in the SEC West. Even in a down year teams have to compete with Alabama every year. Oh, and there is Auburn and LSU. Right off the bat the “best” that these teams can consistently shoot for is 4th in the division. Maybe they get lucky every 4-5 years and finish second, but actually winning the SEC West for anyone outside those 3 schools is about as likely as most schools winning a national championship.
And that brings us to fans. Arkansas fans are crazy. As in make South Carolina fans that throw garbage on the field look sane crazy. They have outsized expectations a bit like Tennessee without the historic success. Coach Venables knows this and also knows what a bad recipe that is.
Mississippi State fans are better, but they will be replacing the most successful coach in program history. You never want to be the guy to follow the guy, and Mississippi State is a HARD place to win at.
Neither state has much in terms of in-state talent for recruiting either. That means going into Texas, Louisiana, and Alabama to get most of your players, let along finding enough depth to compete. And that’s to say nothing of facilities, money to pay coaches, etc. Basically these jobs don’t have much beyond being “SEC” jobs. And that’s unlikely to be enough to sway Venables.
And if all of this has convinced you, remember this. Coach Venables will have his son Jake at Clemson in 2018. His younger son Tyler just got an offer from Clemson as well. There is absolutely some desire to coach at least Jake in college. Maybe just for a season, but it would be strange to see Jake come here and then his dad leave before a single practice together.
Bottom line, don’t read much into the rumors. If they pick up steam after this weekend’s game against Miami you can be concerned, but even then both of these jobs seem like ones that wouldn’t be the fit that Venables has talked a lot about. Now that’s not to say he wouldn’t leave, but anyone predicting it is likely going for some HOT TAEKS.