Riley’s departure turns out to be a good thing.

Riley’s departure turns out to be a good thing.


Since December 2020, Oklahoma football fans have endured many difficult times. However, Brent Venables has quickly turned the fortunes of Speoner Nation around, and now it’s clear that OU has more momentum as a program than it has at times. When you look at the Sooners’ physical changes on the roster, you can see the motivation in the way recruits are talking about Oklahoma and the way the Sooners are enjoying themselves. There will be plenty of media members and fans with plenty of crow to eat. A lot of the narrative from Vanables anywhere to Oklahoma being a mediocre recruiter can’t recruit West Coast/California so the Sooners can’t get five-star QBs anymore. All of those narratives have been silenced, and despite having the top five rosters in the sport, there’s one that Oklahoma will fall into, and I’m not saying I like the chances of that narrative either.

The final push to invest in the Oklahoma football program

When Oklahoma football was about to move to the SEC, they had to open their pockets and start investing more in football. It’s no secret that Oklahoma recently underwent a stadium renovation and has one of the best stadiums in the sport. However, to be successful in this sport, it is important to keep up with the Joneses. Oklahoma has been famously thrifty over the years, but the pocketbooks look open. Take another college job (something that hasn’t happened at Oklahoma since before Bud Wilkenson) to have the head coach you drafted for Oklahoma was a shame.

Riley did not publicly list his reasons for leaving, other than to say that USC was a great opportunity. The problem is, Oklahoma football is a great, great job, just like USC, and Oklahoma doesn’t have a program in fear. There is more to this story. More importantly, the Oklahoma administration and Riley haven’t looked at every detail. Riley wanted things that took longer to do than he wanted or was given. When Oklahoma hired Brent Venables, Venables let him know some of the things he needed to take the job.

Things like football team chefs to facility changes, among other things, are being done. Bringing in Tad Turnipseed with a new stadium renovation plan is a clear indication that the management will not be cheap and will do things the right way this time no matter the cost. Riley opened the eyes of the administration in the way that Oklahoma was in decline. It’s not just the administration; Donors are opening their pockets like never before. They don’t want to be embarrassed again like they were when Riley left.

Brent Venables’ staff is better than Riley’s, and they recruit better.

Clemson defensive line coach Todd Bates during his teams Cotton Bowl practice at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. Clemson Cotton Bowl practice

Lincoln Riley and his crew were no slouchs on the recruiting trail, but Venables and Co. are making them look like they were. Oklahoma football is on the recruiting trail the most I’ve ever seen in my life. It looks like Oklahoma can do no wrong and will continue to tear things apart on the road. There will be some more commitments coming up in the days and weeks of this post, and they’re not the small kind. They also do more than run routes and throw passes. Oklahoma is recruiting at a high level for every position, not just a couple. Todd Bates is an incredible defensive line coach; Ted Roof is a national champion as a defensive coordinator. Brandon Hall is an exceptional special teams and safety guard, and Jeff Libby is only qualified as an offensive coordinator. His mistakes over the past few seasons have left Riley with a significantly lower level of talent. Acquiring Bates LeBlanc from Florida is not the move the former staff might have expected. There’s one big thing to be announced soon, the Sooners seem to be going over the years if they’re only from the state.

Strength and conditioning will be the critical difference.

Benny Wiley was not qualified to be the strength and conditioning coach at the University of Oklahoma. When Jerry Schmidt and Lincoln Riley didn’t see eye-to-eye on various issues about the performance, they parted ways. Schmidt went to Texas A&M; The problem is that the discipline and intensity of play that the Sooners have shown for 20 years seems to have gone with them. Oklahoma focused on fast-paced training, speed over strength. Repetition and explosion on power and strength. Although there is more than one philosophical way to do the work, but discipline is a big difference.

Schmidt is a strict disciplinarian; He holds his children accountable. If you’re late, you’ll stay for the level master later. If you miss a lift, I can’t imagine the penalty for that. But under Benny Wylie, sources told me, star players got preferential treatment, sometimes missing out on a strike altogether. This led to Mahala Wiggins choosing to leave the show. He was one of the most respected S&C employees and worked under Schmidt for a few years before he left. Schmidt is now back and Venables is the main man, and the players can tell the difference and let the world know on social media. Even former players will notice the difference. Schmidt is the best in the business and shows up on the playing field immediately. Oklahoma will have more discipline, and the line of scrimmage will have significantly better play intensity.

The statewide commitment to football, the program and donors is at an all-time high. His commitment to the players and their needs is at the highest level in the Soul Program, the Oklahoma Collective, the team’s personal chef and more. The facilities and stadium are slated for further renovations. Brent Venables is like a glove with the culture at Oklahoma, which is a huge plus. Recruiting is already on fire, and Oklahoma has a chance to produce better than they’ve had the past two years before the season begins. Things are looking up big time in Norman.



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