The Clemson Tigers are in the middle of another playoff chase, but rumors circulating defensive coordinator Brent Venables have resurfaced again.
On Monday, USA Today listed Venables as one of the top 15 candidates to fill the head coach opening at Tennessee. The Volunteers fired head coach Butch Jones on Sunday.
Here is the argument for why the Clemson defensive coordinator could fit in Tennessee from USA Today:
Venables is one of the hottest coordinator names, having operated the defense for the national champion Tigers last season. He was also the co-DC for Oklahoma’s 2000 national championship team. He has one of the best résumés of any coordinator. His time at Oklahoma overlapped the early years of Currie’s tenure at Kansas State. Venables reportedly makes $1.7 million. That’s great money for a coordinator, but that’s not head coach money. The SEC East also has been looking toward defensive coordinators recently, with Georgia (Kirby Smart), Missouri (Barry Odom), South Carolina (Will Muschamp) and Vanderbilt (Derek Mason) also tapping coordinators for their openings in recent years — though Muschamp had previous head coaching experience.
It’s important to note, though, (and it’s pointed out in the USA Today column) that Venables has received the opportunity to be a head coach previously, and he’s never taken the plunge. It’s unclear whether he really wants to be a head coach. He might be one of those guys that is completely satisfied focusing solely on coaching championship level defenses.
Venables has served as defensive coordinator at Clemson since 2012, and his units have routinely been ranked towards the top of the country despite the fact he loses kids early to the NFL every year. He’s arguably just as important to the Tigers coaching staff as head coach Dabo Swinney, and him staying could be extremely vital to Clemson continuing its run.