December 4, 2006

OU's Venables finally makes his mark

For defensive coordinator Brent Venables, the 2006 season could be seen as his arrival party. So much talk centered around Venables to start the season because of the struggles in the Sooner secondary and at the defensive tackle position.

There were even some fans hoping Mike Stoops would bow out at Arizona and return to Oklahoma to take over the OU defense. But those detractors are now silent. Venables was finally able to showcase his best coaching effort to date as his 2006 Big 12 Champion defense should be considered the second best of the Stoops era just behind the 2001 unit led by Roy Williams.

Everyone knew this defense had a chance to be special. But when Oklahoma ditched the Keenan Clayton experience early this season, rediscovered Marcus Walker at cornerback and moved Reggie Smith to strong safety, things started coming together for Venables' crew.

With a quarterback who lost his starting job last season and a Heisman Trophy running back on the sidelines, this Sooner team was carried to a Big 12 title because of their defense.

Last Saturday in Kansas City, Venables' defense allowed Oklahoma to struggle offensively at times. The Huskers weren't going anywhere offensively. And Oklahoma celebrated another Big 12 Championship.

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