Defensive coordinator at Clemson
This really shouldn’t be an under-the-radar name, but Venables’ name has been inauspiciously left off the lists of several national college football analysts.
Venables has been a defensive coordinator for a long, long time.
The former Kansas State Wildcat coached with Bob Stoops at Kansas State. Stoops brought Venables along with him to Oklahoma to serve as co-defensive coordinator and eventually defensive coordinator. Venables arrived at Clemson in 2012 and he’s helped usher in the golden age of Tigers football.
Obviously there’s concern about first time head coaches, but some of the best head coaching hires have been coordinators-turned-head coaches. Bob Stoops, Mark Richt, Dabo Swinney, Jimbo Fisher and James Franklin (at Vanderbilt) all made the leap from coordinator to Power-5 head coach and turned out quite well.
Tennessee could do a LOT worse than Venables.
But there is one catch — if Kliff Kingsbury is fired at Texas Tech, the Red Raiders’ AD, who is good friends with Venables, might snatch up the Clemson defensive coordinator.