Meet the Most Underrated Head Coach in SEC Football

All the talk of the Texas Longhorns joining the conference with Steve Sarkisian, along with current members Alabama with Kalen DeBoer, LSU with Brian Kelly and others leave other coaches talked about a lot less. In this article, I talk about one coach and program who are going very much under the radar in the SEC.
Ole Miss v Auburn
Ole Miss v Auburn / Michael Chang/GettyImages

The Oklahoma Sooners are the team that is talked about a whole lot less out of the two that are the new members of the SEC conference in 2024. The other? You guess it- the Texas Longhorns.

Coached by former Nick Saban assistant, Steve Sarkisian, not only are the Longhorns getting more hype being more of a national brand, but Sarkisian is as well. And the attention may be just, but one that needs more attention as well as far as head coaches go is Oklahoma Sooners head coach, Brent Venables.

All the way back to his playing days for the Kansas State Wildcats, Venables has always been on the defensive side of the ball.

Most remember Venables for his long stints as defensive coordinator with the Oklahoma Sooners under long-time head coach Bob Stoops, and the onward to Clemson where he coached under Dabo Swinney in the same position.

Venables spent 13 years in Norman before another 10 in Clemson. Between Venables time at each place, he had 31 players selected within the first 100 picks of the NFL draft.

While offenses are more prominent now a days even in the SEC, defense is still paramount. Oklahoma University Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Programs and Director of Athletic, Joe Castiglione should be given more recognition nationally for this hire. Although the hire happened before Oklahoma announced it would be joining the SEC, one could only speculate that talks were under way, and that Castiglione knew the Sooners needed more of a defensive mind in seat, whether they went to the SEC or not.

Although it seemed non-flashy at the time, Venables is proving that he is and will continue to get the job done. In his three seasons so far as head coach in Norman, Venables turned the Sooners from a 6-7 team in his first season into 10-3 in his second. And oh by the way- in that 10-3 campaign in 2023, they beat the Longhorns.

Yes, the Longhorns had a better season overall, but let us not lose sight of Venables. And that is not only as it compares to Texas, but the SEC overall.

Names like Josh Heupel, Kalen DeBoer and Brian Kelly are newer coaches to the conference that are getting a lot of hype. But watch for Venables and the Sooners to emerge in 2024 as they continue to seemingly work in silence despite an impressive 10 win season in 2023. I projected a 10 or 11 win season for the Sooners in 2024 which will absolutely put them and Venables more in the national spotlight. But until then, I feel extremely confident in saying that Brent Venables is the most underrated coach in the SEC.