While the recent return of Mike Stoops as a defensive coach in Norman has been universally applauded by Sooner fans, the news that current defensive coordinator Brent Venables is considering offers from other schools has had mixed reactions.
Many fans of the team in Crimson and Cream would like nothing more than for Venables to take his skills to another location. A popular opinion on many message boards is that Oklahoma would be better off without him.
While Venables may not have fielded the best OU defenses over the past couple of seasons, the man has always been a major asset for the program. He is a relentless recruiter and an outstanding linebackers coach.
As recently as 2009, the Sooners' eighth-ranked defense was the strength of a team reeling from the loss of Sam Bradford, Jermaine Gresham and almost the entire offensive line.
He has also coached two different defenses that were good enough to get OU into the BCS championship game and he did it without Stoops calling the shots.
How quick some are to forget that the best defenses of the Stoops era were coached by both Mike Stoops and Brent Venables as co-defensive coordinators. While there is little doubt that Stoops was the "main man" in charge, who knows how he would have done without his buddy Venables to bounce ideas off of?
It is already known that the two of them together have the capability of producing a top-notch defense. Do Sooner fans really want to roll the dice and hope that Stoops alone will be able to duplicate the success they produced from 1999-'03?
Stoops has not coordinated a defense in eight seasons and having Venables there with him will surely help make the transition as smooth as possible.
It is also the best scenario for Venables. While taking over the defense at a West Virginia or Clemson would be a crap shoot, at best, a few more years of coordinating top-ranked defenses on the Oklahoma staff and he will once again be a hot commodity in the coaching ranks.
The Sooner nation should all hope Venables makes the right decision and stays at Oklahoma.