Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables, who came to OU along with head coach Bob Stoops in 1999, told media outlets late Wednesday night that he would accept the defensive coordinator's job at Clemson.
Venables' departure comes a few days after the formal announcement last week that Mike Stoops, Bob's brother, would be returning to OU as co-defensive coordinator. Mike Stoops was fired as head coach at Arizona in midseason.
The Oklahoman reported that two of the names being mentioned early to fill the vacancy on the Sooners' defensive staff are TCU linebackers coach Tony Tademy and former Miami Hurricanes' head coach Randy Shannon.
Venables, one of OU's top recruiters, had seen his defense slide in the national rankings in recent years. Mike Stoops and Venables were co-coordinators early in the Bob Stoops' regime, and from 2000 to 2003 the Sooners were ranked in the top 10. Last year OU ranked 55th in yards allowed per game. Venables had been the defensive signal caller since Mike Stoops left for Arizona after the 2003 season.
At Clemson, Venables could see a significant pay increase, according to The Oklahoman and Tulsa World. Venables' salary at OU was $440,000 a year and he could be in the range of $600,000 or more at Clemson.
Venables fills the vacancy left by the departure of former Baylor coach Kevin Steele, whose defense gave up 70 points to West Virginia in the Orange Bowl.