Brent Venables — Clemson Defensive Coordiantor
Anytime you hire a first time head coach it’s a huge gamble.
But it’s gamble that has paid off for a lot of programs — including Tennessee.
Coaches like Phillip Fulmer, Bob Stoops, Jimbo Fisher, Dabo Swinney, and most recently Kirby Smart all started as first time head coaches at a major program. Four of the names on that list won national championships, and the other name looks capable of doing the same.
Of course there’s no way to know if Venables will find that same success as a head coach, but he certainly has the credentials to suggest he might.
Venables has been the defensive coordinator on two national championship winning teams (Oklahoma 2000 and Clemson 2016) and he’s never been part of a team that didn’t go to a bowl game.
If Tennessee strikes out on some of their top candidates, I think Venables is a guy they can get that can deliver results. It might be a little rough the first season, but as we’ve seen with Kirby Smart at Georgia, I think by year two he would have the Volunteers in a nice groove.