Venables: Clemson ‘was the right thing to do’ for career

7 Comments

The rumors connecting Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables to Clemson over the past week finally resulted in confirmation from Venables himself last night that he would be the new DC for the Tigers.

Reasons behind the move speculated from one extreme to the other. Some believed Venables was insulted that he would have to share the DC spot again with Mike Stoops; others pointed toward increased financial compensation at Clemson. As it is most of the time, it was probably a combination of factors and really somewhere in the middle.

Speaking with KREF Sports Talk 1400, Venables said the process was “gut wrenching” and included “lots of sleepless nights.”

“It was a difficult decision,” Venables said. “I felt deep down this was the right thing for me to do at the right time in my life.

“It’s an incredibly exciting opportunity, but to look in the rear view mirror and leave behind the relationships… to the University of Oklahoma… it’s a sad day.”

But after 13 years of service to Bob Stoops, Venables made a decision for Venables. Can you really blame a guy for that? Despite the fact that Oklahoma “moved mountains” to try to keep him — Venables said OU was able to get close to what Clemson was offering in both dollars and years — the longtime DC took a step to what he felt gave him a better opportunity to eventually be a head coach.

Isn’t that the ultimate goal of just about any coach? Venables, remember, was connected to the Clemson head coaching job a few years ago before it went to Dabo Swinney.

Of course, the big question still revolved around the re-hiring of Mike Stoops. Venables downplayed any friction.

“I have a fabulous relationship with Mike Stoops and I thought together we are better,” Venables said. “I thought we could rekindle the old magic, if you will.”

True, spun or otherwise, Venables has said and done all the right things in the process. If you’re going to leave, go out as a positive memory in people’s minds.

“I’ve had the highest of highs here both professionally and personally, and the lowest of lows here professionally and personally,” Venables said emotionally. “Believe it or not, I still call [Oklahoma] home.”

Arizona State, Mississippi State ink home-and-home

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Arizona State and Mississippi State on Tuesday announced a home-and-home series to be played in 2024-25. Arizona State will host the first game in Tempe on Sept. 7, 2024, and the clubs will meet in Starkville on Sept. 6, 2025.

The Sun Devils and Bulldogs have never met previously.

The Arizona State trip is not Mississippi State’s only upcoming trek from the Deep South to the Southwest. The Bulldogs also lined up a visit to Arizona in 2020 and Texas Tech in 2029. Mississippi State will open the 2024 season against Eastern Kentucky and visit Southern Miss the week after its Arizona State visit, on Sept. 14. The Bulldogs have no other games lined up in 2025 as of yet, according to FBSchedules.

Likewise, Mississippi State is not the Sun Devils’ lone upcoming SEC opponent. Arizona State has a home-and-home with LSU on the docket for 2026-28, per FBSchedules. The Mississippi State games complete both of the Sun Devils’ non-conference schedules for these respective seasons. Arizona State opens with Wyoming and visits Texas State in 2024, and hosts Northern Arizona and Texas State in 2025.

UCLA lands Texas Tech graduate transfer OL Justin Murphy

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Help is on the way for Chip Kelly‘s offensive line. One graduate transfer offensive lineman has the Bruins on his list, but another has already pulled the trigger for UCLA.

Texas Tech graduate transfer Justin Murphy on Tuesday committed to UCLA in a post on his Twitter account.

A native of Belton, Texas, Murphy signed with Texas Tech in 2014 and made four starts at right guard as a redshirt freshman. He again started four games at right guard in ’15 before moving out to tackle, where he started another four games. But after battling a series of knee injuries, Murphy announced in the middle of the 2016 season he had medically retired from the game.

After sitting out 2017, Murphy announced in March he planned to make a comeback.

UCLA remarkably started the same offensive linemen in all 13 games last season, but tackle Kolton Miller entered the NFL draft, guard Najoee Toran and center Scott Quessenberry graduated.

Toledo posts, then deletes, tweet offering to change mascot to Shrek

Getty Images
Leave a comment

There are plenty of annoying trends on Twitter, but perhaps the worst is the “I’ll do X if this gets retweeted X-thousand amount of times.” I blame Wendy’s.

But blanket policies are never a good way to go through life, and an exception was made on Tuesday when Toledo offered to change its mascot from a rocket to Shrek with 500,000 retweets.

Sadly, some dreams are simply too beautiful to live in this fallen world, and the tweet was outed to be a hoax. “We are definitely not changing the school mascot to Shrek,” Toledo media relations specialist Christine Billau told USA Today. “The tweet was meant to be fun, but it caused too much of a distraction.”

Meanwhile, Bowling Green gleefully hopped on the dog pile with both elbows pointed out.

UMass grad transfer lineman narrows choices to Auburn, UCLA, USC

UMass athletics
Leave a comment

It’s not yet known to where Jack Driscoll will transfer, but the field has been significantly narrowed.

Earlier this offseason, Driscoll decided to transfer from UMass.  Tuesday, the offensive tackle confirmed to Rivals.com that he’s down to three schools as a potential landing spot — Auburn, UCLA and USC.

Neither football program will have to wait long for a decision as Driscoll expects to make an announcement Wednesday.  Driscoll had taken an official visit to all three of the campuses prior to whittling down his transfer to-do list.

“It will come down to one of those three schools,” the lineman told AuburnSports.com. “I feel like all three of the schools would be a good fit.”

Driscoll will graduate from UMass early next month, and will be eligible to play immediately in 2018 at whichever program he selects.  The upcoming season will be the first of two years of eligibility the 6-5, 294-pound lineman has remaining.

After starting eight games as a redshirt freshman in 2016, with most of those starts coming at left guard, he started all 12 games in 2017.  All of those starts this past season came at right tackle for the football-independent Minutemen. He was named to Phil Steele’s All-Independent first team while he earned second-team All-Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) honors for good measure.