Who will OU hire as its head coach?
Oklahoma is entering Day 5 of its coaching search. A few candidates that are still on the board.
Happy Friday, friends. Oklahoma’s coaching search continues after an eventful week in Norman.
On Monday, Brent Venables was rumored to have already accepted the job and was going to be announced at a 3 p.m. press conference but nothing materialized from it.
On Tuesday, OU cornerbacks coach Roy Manning was seemingly caught recruiting for both Oklahoma and Southern Cal.
On Wednesday, it became real and not real that Matt Rhule and Dabo Swinney had interest in coming to Norman. Also, OU quarterback Caleb Williams attended the Sooners’ men’s basketball game against Florida, which seemed to lift morale.
Finally on Thursday, a whole lot of nothing happened.
So, where does OU’s coaching search stand? Let’s talk some candidates that are still in play (this does not mean others aren’t in play, but these are just the names we’re hearing the most):
Brent Venables, Clemson defensive coordinator: The fan and alumni support is there for Venables. But you get the feeling OU’s search committee might have other options they want to hear from first before finalizing anything with Venables. The former OU assistant has been on the road recruiting this week for Clemson, which shouldn’t be a concern. The man is just doing the job he has right now, which is more than other coaches can say. While Venables would be great at stabilizing the program and helping reshape its identity entering the SEC, it just feels like OU is trying to take a bigger swing.
Dan Lanning, Georgia defensive coordinator: Lanning was an obvious choice from the start, considering his success with the Bulldogs and OU being able to avoid a bidding war with Georgia over an assistant. There is nothing to indicate that he’s the Sooners top choice or even if there’s been much contact. But if you’d like to read more about Lanning, click here for a well-reported story from Tulsa World’s Eric Bailey. I think a lot of you will like Lanning, if he is the hire.
Luke Fickell, Cincinnati head coach: So, Fickell won’t be getting the Notre Dame job, which is reportedly high up on his list of preferred destinations. The longer the search goes, it becomes more plausible that OU was waiting for Cincy to get out of its conference title game to speak with Fickell and make the offer. But right now, this still seems like a very low possibility.
Dave Aranda, Baylor head coach: From everything I know about the Aranda situation, it has never felt like the stars would align for him and the Sooners this cycle. But like Fickell, OU might be waiting for Baylor to play Oklahoma State on Saturday to get an answer from Aranda, who I believe would be a fantastic hire and wouldn’t rule out just yet.
A lot of you have asked who I think it will be. I’ve been on the record predicting Venables, but that educated guess (and I want to make it clear that is an educated guess and not reporting) feels flimsy at this point. I’m honestly waiting for OU athletics director Joe Castiglione to stun us all and announce some out-of-nowhere candidate as the next guy.
TL;DR: No one has a clue right now who the hire is going to be, but knowing how these things typically go, I would be shocked if it goes longer than Monday.
Give me OU football head coach Peyton Manning.