ACC: Oklahoma Sooners

Position U: Running backs

June, 17, 2014
Jun 17
Who really deserves to claim the title of "Running Back U" for the 2000s?

1. Arkansas (104 points)
In perhaps the biggest upset at any position, Arkansas can call itself “Running Back U” for the 2000s. Certainly Darren McFadden played the biggest role in the Razorbacks’ claim, but he got an assist from Felix Jones and Peyton Hillis. Those former backfield mates are among six Arkansas running backs who have been drafted since 2001, helping the Hogs barely edge Oklahoma for the top spot.

Award winners: McFadden, Walker (2006, 2007), Camp (2007).
Consensus All-Americans: McFadden (2006, 2007).
First-team all-conference: Fred Talley (2002), Cedric Cobbs (2003), Darren McFadden (2005, 2006, 2007).
NFL first-round draft picks: Jones (2008), McFadden (2008).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Cobbs (Round 4, 2004), Knile Davis (Round 3, 2013).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Hillis (Round 7, 2008), Kiero Small (Round 7, 2014).

2. Oklahoma (102 points)
When someone like Adrian Peterson has been on your campus, you have to start there when discussing Oklahoma running backs. But one of the main reasons the Sooners racked up such a considerable point total is the Big 12’s unusual practice of honoring fullbacks on its all-conference team. In addition to the Petersons and DeMarco Murrays, there are also several blocking backs included in the Sooners’ 12 all-conference running backs who made our list.

Award winners: None.
Consensus All-Americans: Peterson (2004).
First-team all-conference: Quentin Griffin (2002), Peterson (2004, 2005, 2006), J.D. Runnels (2005), Brody Eldridge (2007), DeMarco Murray (2008, 2010), Matt Clapp (2008), Trey Millard (2011, 2012, 2013).
NFL first-round draft picks: Peterson (2007).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Griffin (Round 4, 2003), Murray (Round 3, 2011).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Runnels (Round 6, 2006), Patrick (Round 7, 2008), Trey Millard (Round 7, 2014).

3. Alabama (100 points)
Arkansas’ Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams had better pick it up this season, or the Alabama train is going to roll to the top spot. The Crimson Tide once again has one of the nation’s most talented backfields with T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry set to join the likes of Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy as top point producers from Alabama.

Award winners: Ingram, Heisman (2009); Richardson, Walker (2011).
Consensus All-Americans: Ingram (2009), Richardson (2011).
First-team all-conference: Kenneth Darby (2005), Ingram (2009), Richardson (2011), Lacy (2012), Yeldon (2013).
NFL first-round draft picks: Ingram (2011), Richardson (2012).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Le’Ron McClain (Round 4, 2007), Glen Coffee (Round 3, 2009), Lacy (Round 2, 2013).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Ahmaad Galloway (Round 7, 2003), Darby (Round 7, 2007), Brad Smelley (Round 7, 2012).

4. Auburn (86 points)
Auburn hasn’t been as flashy as its in-state rival -- the Tigers don’t have a single award winner or consensus All-American in the 2000s -- but few schools have been as consistent at developing solid tailbacks. Perhaps the most memorable names are the stars from the undefeated 2004 team -- Ronnie Brown and Carnell “Cadillac” Williams -- but Rudi Johnson, Kenny Irons, Ben Tate and Tre Mason all made big impacts at Auburn, as well.

Award winners: None.
Consensus All-Americans: None.
First-team all-conference: Johnson (2000), Williams (2003, 2004), Brown (2004), Irons (2005, 2006), Michael Dyer (2011), Mason (2013).
NFL first-round draft picks: Brown (2005), Williams (2005).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Heath Evans (Round 3, 2001), Johnson (Round 4, 2001), Irons (Round 2, 2007), Tate (Round 2, 2010), Mason (Round 3, 2014).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Jay Prosch (Round 6, 2014).

4. Wisconsin (86 points)
Montee Ball is Wisconsin’s only major award winner and consensus All-America tailback from the 2000s, but the Badgers have an impressive tradition of turning out 1,000-yard rushers. Among the program’s top producers from this era are 2001 first-round pick Michael Bennett, Brian Calhoun and Anthony Davis, among others. Ball posted huge yardage and touchdown totals in 2011 and 2012 -- which explains why he was a two-time All-American and won the 2012 Doak Walker Award -- but it’s the run of consistency at running back that makes Wisconsin a producer of top rushers.

Award winners: Ball, Walker (2012).
Consensus All-Americans: Ball (2011, 2012).
First-team all-conference: Davis (2001), Calhoun (2005), P.J. Hill (2006), John Clay (2009), Ball (2011, 2012).
NFL first-round draft picks: Bennett (2001).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Calhoun (Round 3, 2006), Ball (Round 2, 2013), James White (Round 4, 2014).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Davis (Round 7, 2005), Bradie Ewing (Round 5, 2012).

6. Oregon (82 points)
Although the Ducks have ranked among the nation’s top programs over the past half-decade, LaMichael James’ 2010 Doak Walker Award is the only major award that an Oregon player has won at any position in the 2000s. James is the Ducks’ top point producer out of the backfield in recent years, but they also won points with backs like Maurice Morris and Onterrio Smith before Chip Kelly’s rushing attack turned Oregon into the offensive juggernaut that we see today.

Award winners: James, Walker (2010).
Consensus All-Americans: James (2010), Kenjon Barner (2012).
First-team all-conference: Smith (2002), Jonathan Stewart (2007), James (2010, 2011), Barner (2012).
NFL first-round draft picks: Stewart (2008).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Morris (Round 2, 2002), Smith (Round 4, 2003), LaMichael James (Round 2, 2012), De’Anthony Thomas (Round 4, 2014).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Barner (Round 6, 2013).

7. USC (78 points)
Reggie Bush was actually a two-time All-American, but we aren’t factoring the 2004 nod he received because that was as an all-purpose player, not a running back. Nonetheless, Bush’s standout 2005 season was the main points driver as the Trojans cracked the top 10 largely because of the former No. 2 overall NFL pick’s accomplishments. It bears mentioning, however, that USC has already had eight running backs drafted in the 2000s.

Award winners: Bush, Heisman (2005), Camp (2005), Walker (2005).
Consensus All-Americans: Bush (2005).
First-team all-conference: Bush (2004, 2005).
NFL first-round draft picks: Bush (2006).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Justin Fargas (Round 3, 2003), LenDale White (Round 2, 2006), Joe McKnight (Round 4, 2010).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Malaefou Mackenzie (Round 7, 2003), David Kirtman (Round 5, 2006), Allen Bradford (Round 6, 2011), Stanley Havili (Round 7, 2011).

8. Penn State (72 points)
Larry Johnson’s huge 2002 season accounts for much of Penn State’s point production -- he generated 52 points between winning three national awards, becoming a consensus All-American, winning first-team all-conference honors and getting drafted in the 2003 first round -- but the Nittany Lions have had five running backs drafted and Evan Royster also won all-conference honors in 2009.

Award winners: Johnson, Camp (2002), Maxwell (2002), Walker (2002).
Consensus All-Americans: Johnson (2002).
First-team all-conference: Johnson (2002), Royster (2009).
NFL first-round draft picks: Johnson (2003).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Omar Easy (Round 4, 2002), Michael Robinson (Round 4, 2006), Tony Hunt (Round 3, 2007).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Royster (Round 6, 2011).

9. Oklahoma State (70 points)
There’s nothing flashy about Oklahoma State’s point production here. No national awards, and just Kendall Hunter among its All-Americans. But the Cowboys have been outstanding at producing all-conference running backs, with Hunter (twice) and Tatum Bell ranking among their eight backs who made the coaches’ first team.

Award winners: None.
Consensus All-Americans: Hunter (2010.
First-team all-conference: Bell (2003), Dantrell Savage (2007), Hunter (2008, 2010), Keith Toston (2009), Bryant Ward (2009, 2010), Joseph Randle (2012).
NFL first-round draft picks: None.
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Bell (Round 2, 2004), Vernand Morency (Round 3, 2005), Hunter (Round 4, 2011).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Randle (Round 5, 2013).

10. California (66 points)
Considering how Cal shares a conference with splashy programs like Oregon and USC, perhaps it’s understandable that its success developing tailbacks might fly a bit under the radar. But just look at the Bears’ résumé, starting with Marshawn Lynch, Jahvid Best and J.J. Arrington. There have been some enormously productive tailbacks who got their start in Berkeley.

Award winners: None.
Consensus All-Americans: Arrington (2004).
First-team all-conference: Adimchinobe Echemandu (2003), Arrington (2004), Lynch (2006), Justin Forsett (2007), Best (2008).
NFL first-round draft picks: Lynch (2007), Best (2010).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Arrington (Round 2, 2005), Shane Vereen (Round 2, 2011).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Echemandu (Round 7, 2004), Forsett (Round 7, 2008).

10. Virginia Tech (66 points)
Frank Beamer’s Hokies are another bunch who trotted out productive tailback after productive tailback. Virginia Tech hasn’t won a national award and has only Kevin Jones among its All-America backs, but its list of all-conference backs -- including first-round picks Jones and David Wilson, along with Lee Suggs, Brandon Orr and Ryan Williams -- features some players whose running abilities fit perfectly with Beamer’s winning formula in Blacksburg.

Award winners: None.
Consensus All-Americans: Jones (2003).
First-team all-conference: Suggs (2000), Jones (2003), Orr (2006), Williams (2009), Wilson (2011).
NFL first-round draft picks: Jones (2004), Wilson (2012).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Suggs (Round 4, 2003), Williams (Round 2, 2011).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Jarrett Ferguson (Round 7, 2002), Cedric Humes (Round 7, 2006).

62 -- Boston College; 60 -- Michigan, Ohio State; 58 -- Stanford; 56 -- LSU, Miami; 52 -- Georgia Tech, Oregon State; 50 -- West Virginia; 48 -- BYU; 44 -- Arizona, Michigan State, Pittsburgh, TCU; 42 -- Texas; 40 -- Clemson, Iowa, Nebraska; 36 -- Kansas State, Rutgers; 32 -- Georgia, Minnesota; 28 -- Florida State, Louisville, Tennessee, UCLA; 26 -- Illinois, Maryland, Syracuse; 24 -- Virginia; 20 -- Colorado, North Carolina; 18 -- Baylor, Mississippi State, Wake Forest; 16 -- Florida, Northwestern, Washington, Washington State; 14 -- Ole Miss, South Carolina, Texas Tech; 12 -- Iowa State, Kentucky; 10 -- Kansas, N.C. State, Texas A&M; 8 -- Missouri, Utah; 6 -- Arizona State, Duke, Indiana, Notre Dame; 2 -- Vanderbilt
ESPN's Ivan Maisel, SEC blogger Chris Low and ACC blogger Heather Dinich look back at Oklahoma's stunning upset of Alabama in the Allstate Sugar Bowl and preview the Cotton Bowl, Orange Bowl and the big matchup between Florida State and Auburn in the VIZIO BCS Championship.

You can listen here.
For the last four years, quarterback Drew Allen has worn crimson. Soon, he’ll don the orange of Syracuse.

Allen, who will earn his degree from Oklahoma this month, will be eligible for the Orange immediately, and will compete to replace Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib, who was taken in the fourth round of the NFL draft.

Before he heads off to his new school, Allen checked in with SoonerNation to talk about Syracuse, the decision to transfer and what he thinks of OU’s three-way quarterback competition:

[+] EnlargeDrew Allen
Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsQuarterback Drew Allen played sparingly in his career at Oklahoma but he'll compete to start at Syracuse this season.
SoonerNation: When are you getting up to Syracuse?

Drew Allen: It depends. I’m just now applying. They just sent me applications to get into graduate school. It depends on which graduate school I use or get into, and when that school offers classes. With NCAA rules, you have to be enrolled and taking courses in order to be participating with the team. I imagine though it would be in June.

SN: What are you going to get your Master's in?

Allen: No, I don’t know yet. I met with admissions when I went up there for my visit, and found three, four of them that would be good. If I can get into one that’s good for me, that’s all I can really ask for.

SN: What other schools did you look at?

Allen: Throughout the process, I didn’t really focus on schools, I was looking more so at what schools were looking at me, that would be willing to give me an opportunity and privilege to be able to use my last year to come play for them. Once I figured out who those schools were, I was able to narrow it down.

SN: Who did you narrow it down to?

Allen: It really came down to Syracuse and NC State. I visited both schools. In the end I chose Syracuse. I really liked what (Ryan) Nassib did, the direction of the program. They’re moving from the Big East to the ACC, the strength of schedule is favorable for exposure. If we win those games, we put ourselves in a good position to be a nationally-ranked team. The coaches were great. The schemes and type of offense (Orange offensive coordinator George McDonald) is going to run there really fits me, and is pretty much a carryover from what we’ve done at OU. The same kind of stuff.

(Read full post)

Video: National storylines from Week 3

September, 18, 2011

Pat Forde and Heather Dinich break down the biggest storylines from Week 3, including the ACC’s big day, Notre Dame’s win and Auburn’s loss.

Instant analysis: Oklahoma 23, FSU 13

September, 17, 2011

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- It was a much better game than it was a year ago because Florida State is a much better team. There's no question the Seminoles closed the gap between Florida State and the No. 1 program in the country, just not enough to beat the Sooners. Here's a quick recap of Saturday night's 23-13 loss:

How the game was won: In the end, it was a veteran quarterback and one of the nation's top receivers against a rookie backup quarterback, and the veterans got the last word. Landry Jones' 37-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stills went over the head of Greg Reid for a 20-13 lead with seven minutes remaining. Oklahoma's defense was stifling for most of the game, and the Seminoles struggled to generate any offense. Their backup quarterback, Clint Trickett, gave them legitimate hope despite a shoulder injury to EJ Manuel. But the offense couldn't answer Jones' final touchdown pass, and Trickett was intercepted with about 5:30 left to play. It was one of three turnovers for Florida State that was costly.

Turning point: With the score tied at 13 in the fourth quarter, on third-and-12, Jones found Ryan Broyles for a 22-yard completion and the first down. Jones found receiver Stills on the next play for a 37-yard touchdown that put the Sooners ahead for good.

Player of the game: Oklahoma receiver Stills. He had a big game, finishing with seven catches for 125 yards and a touchdown. It seemed like every pass he caught was for a first down, and his touchdown reception put the Sooners up 20-13.

Unsung hero of the game: Trickett. Florida State's backup quarterback hadn't thrown a pass in a collegiate game until this season. Against the No. 1 team in the nation, he put the Seminoles in position to win. Heading into this game, Trickett had a career stat line that included 7-of-8 passes for 176 yards and three touchdowns. Against Oklahoma, he led the Noles on two scoring drives, one a field goal and another an impressive touchdown pass. He was poised and the offense didn't miss a beat without Manuel. On third-and-28 with just under 10 minutes remaining in the game, Trickett threw a 56-yard touchdown pass to Rashad Greene to tie the game at 13. The Seminoles had struggled all night to generate some offense, and the rookie quarterback came up with the biggest offensive play of the game.

What it means: Oklahoma can finally claim an important road win with Jones at quarterback, and Florida State and the ACC will have to wait until next year for more national title talk. The Sooners entered this game with a 15-10 record in true road games since 2005 and Jones entered this game with a 3-5 road record. This was one they needed to start to reverse that trend.

Video: Oklahoma-FSU preview

September, 17, 2011

Heather Dinich and Pat Forde break down Saturday’s showdown between Oklahoma and Florida State from Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee.

Video: College GameDay onsite

September, 16, 2011

Pat Forde and Heather Dinich break down Oklahoma-Florida State, Auburn-Clemson and Ohio State-Miami.

Video: Trouble in Tallahassee?

September, 13, 2011

Bobby Bowden previews the Saturday night showdown between Oklahoma and Florida State.

Miami and Oklahoma facing BCS implications

September, 30, 2009

Posted by’s Heather Dinich

Nobody likes to have two losses.

The Miami-Oklahoma game on Saturday would have had a different twist had the Hurricanes defeated Virginia Tech and entered the game a surprising 3-0, but it’s no less interesting because of its BCS implications.

Seven of the top 10 teams from the Week 1 Associated Press rankings have lost. Four of this week’s top 10 teams have one loss, including the No. 8 ranked Sooners. One loss is manageable. Two losses -- save for the 2007 season -- tend to squash BCS hopes.

Miami’s chances at the national title took a severe hit with last week’s loss to Virginia Tech, and in order for the Canes to jump the Hokies in the polls, Virginia Tech obviously has to lose. It’s a Catch 22, though, because the more the Hokies lose, the worse that loss looks for Miami. The odds are slim, obviously, but they’ll vanish almost entirely if Miami loses this one.

Oklahoma is in a similar situation in that the Sooners can’t afford another loss, either. That season-opening loss to BYU is looking even worse after Florida State clobbered the Cougars 54-28 at home.

Consider this an elimination game.

Video: ACC Nuggets

September, 29, 2009

ESPNU previews Oklahoma's game against Miami.

Friday Mailblog

April, 17, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

You asked, I answered:

Michael in Fort Myers writes: HD im a miami fan im curious to see how you think miami will do against oklahoma.Theres alot of hype about the sooners being a national title contender this year but they have lost all of there O-line that protects bradford. If miami can break threw that line and pressure bradford do u think miami could have a good chance at the upset? Also what is wrong with travis benjamin? i havent heard anything about him this spring and im wondering if hes going to be ready for the fall.

Heather Dinich: Actually, there are four new faces on the Sooners' o-line. Getting pressure on Bradford is obviously part of it, Michael, but don't underestimate Oklahoma's defense. If Miami fans want a quick Oklahoma 101 from their spring practices, check out my colleague Tim Griffin's blog post. I think Miami is going to play like it did against Florida last year -- better than people thought, but not quite good enough. Of course, a lot of it also depends on what kind of momentum -- or lack thereof -- they have going into that game. As for Travis Benjamin, he ran track this spring and was hampered a bit by injury, but he's fine now.

Brandon in Charlotte writes: HD - Just wanted to let you know that the UNC staff has been at Florida the last few days watching there practices.

Heather Dinich: Thanks, Brandon, I confirmed this, and was told it was a productive visit.

Kyle in Jacksonville, Fla., writes: Heather, True or False, will the ACC (and the rest of the country for that matter) be ready for GT's new option offense after seeing it for a year? As an FSU fan, I know that we were completely dumbfounded on defense trying to follow all that motion. But now that there is film on the Jackets and teams can better prepare, do you think they will struggle to repeat there wins of a season ago? Love the blog, read everyday. Thanks.

Heather Dinich: I'll let Paul Johnson answer that question for you, since I asked him a few weeks ago.

"Not really," Johnson said. "They'll probably get better ideas maybe or whatever, but we're going to get better doing it, too. It's a tradeoff. We were in a league at Georgia Southern, we won the league all five years. I didn't see a change a lot from Year 1 to Year 2. At Navy we played a lot of the same teams. Some teams played us better than others. The teams with the best players seem to have the best ideas. I don't worry about that. If that was the case, when Navy and Air Force played, it would always be 0-0."

Marsh writes: Heather, what do you think of the quarter back race at Duke? The new freshmen is supposedly looking pretty good in spring practice, any chance of him taking thad's place?

Heather Dinich: Well, there really isn't a quarterback race at Duke, Marsh. Not between Thaddeus Lewis and Greg Paulus, and not between Lewis and Sean Renfree, although you're right -- the staff likes what they see from Renfree. (If that's who you're talking about, but he's a sophomore). Lewis is easily one of the top three quarterbacks in the ACC, and he's a senior. He's not going anywhere.

Andrew in Baltimore writes: What will the Terps do with their running back situation having Scott, Adams, Porzel, and a very underrated Maggett?

Heather Dinich: I don't think it will be much different than it was a year ago, with Da'Rel Scott being the No. 1 guy, and a toss-up between Davin Meggett and Morgan Green, who are like 2a and 2b this spring. The other guys aren't even on campus yet, and they probably won't figure in yet, likely redshirt guys.

Jess in Winston-Salem writes: I know it's a Yahoo story, and he didn't play for Virginia Tech, Clemson, or FSU, but it'd be great if you gave some love to Aaron Curry for this move.

Heather Dinich: Been there, done that.

A random question from Mark in Blacksburg: Hey Heather, Welcome to Blacksburg! Hope our town is treating you right! Quick question that has been bugging me for a long time: why is Boston College the only team in Division-IA football that is sponsored by Reebok? Hope you can shed some light on this.

Heather Dinich: I didn't know that BC was the only FBS team wearing Reebok, Mark, but I can tell you that Reebok is headquartered in Canton, Mass., which might have something to do with it.

A Cane in Hooville writes: HD: I know VTHokielover has respectfully requested you make mention of the tragedy at VT tomorrow and I ask the same. We are attempting to get everyone of the "regulars" to upload the VT logo over the black ribbon tomorrow as their avatar, and I have posed the suggestion that everyone pause from commenting at 9:30 AM tomorrow as our sign of a moment of silence to remember the tragedy and those affected. Thanks HD!

Heather Dinich: Funny, Cane, but you actually answered my question. Because I was on the road this week, I wasn't monitoring the comments closely or checking in as I often do, and I missed this request. I was wondering why everyone switched their avatars. Thanks for helping everyone respectfully pay their tributes on the ACC blog.

FSU and Miami building championship-caliber recruiting classes

January, 16, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

If Miami and Florida State continue to add to and develop the speed and athleticism that is already in their current recruiting classes, then look out -- both of these programs will be back in business.

Florida State had the better season in 2008, but Miami's recruiting is a step ahead. If the Canes hire the right offensive coordinator and get the kinks worked out at quarterback, then Miami is going to be one of best teams in the country in the next two or three years. If they're not, then something is wrong, because all you have to do is look at the talent they're lining up, not to mention how many young impact players like Sean Spence are already on the roster.

Miami currently has seven -- seven! -- recruits committed who are ranked among the ESPNU 150, a list of the top 150 prospects in the country, and nine players who have earned a grade of 80 or higher. If you're not familiar with ESPN's grading system, you should check it out, because there is no other evaluation like it.

Players who earn a grade of 80 or higher are deemed outstanding prospects who can contribute as true freshmen. Miami had the No. 1 recruiting class a year ago, and it panned out. This one should too, thanks to the staff's late push on the recruiting trail.

Florida State is not far behind. It has to have helped to have coach-in-waiting Jimbo Fisher out recruiting when other head coaches cannot. Defensive tackle Jacobbi McDaniel is the real deal, and the No. 1 prep tackle in the country. Back to that grading system ... McDaniel has a 91, meaning our evaluators consider him a rare prospect who "has all the skills to take over a game and could be an impact player as a true freshman." Translated -- wow.

Both of these programs have improved their recruiting in the 2008 and 2009 classes. FSU jumped from No. 25 in 2007, when it had a very average class, to No. 12 last year and is currently No. 10. Miami is currently ranked No. 7. (Don't forget, though, who had the No. 2 class a year ago -- Clemson. This is the year for Da'Quan Bowers, Kyler Parker and Jamie Harper to remind us why, although Bowers has already lived up to the hype.)

The first step in earning a top 10 ranking in the BCS standings is building a top 10 recruiting class, and that's exactly what Florida State and Miami have been doing. They're in good company with the likes of USC, Oklahoma, Texas, Ohio State, Florida, Georgia, Alabama and LSU -- all programs that were in contention for the national title the past few seasons.

If Florida State and Miami are getting the same quality players, then reason stands they should have the same chance.

Clemson interviews Oklahoma's defensive coordinator

November, 12, 2008

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Clemson has interviewed Brent Venables for the head coaching job, Bruce Feldman reported today, confirmation that athletic director Terry Don Phillips isn't quite sold on Dabo Swinney. Swinney told me today that's nothing he's worried about because it's not something he can control. But it can't make the rest of the season much easier on him, considering the Tigers have to win all three of their remaining games to go to a bowl.

As for Venables, his name has also been tied to the opening at his alma mater, K-State, but Clemson is a better job.

Venables is the recruiting closer for the Sooners and word in the business is he's an all-around good guy. He's up-tempo, well-liked and not pretentious.

Still, the defense hasn't been as good as it was a few years ago, and not all Sooners fans would be sad to see him go. Then again, nobody is playing defense like they used to in the Big 12, and that has a lot to do with the evolution of the offense. Does Venables have the resume of Bud Foster? No, but his connection to Bob Stoops helps.

The big question is if Venables would bring the quarterbacks coach with him, Josh Heupel, and make him the offensive coordinator. Heupel has been credited for bringing Sam Bradford along. If there's one thing the ACC could use, it's a Heisman-like quarterback.

The other thing to note would be that Venables would probably be a less expensive choice than Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp.

Overall, it sounds like Venables would be a good hire for Clemson.

ACC's lunchtime links

November, 12, 2008

Posted by's Heather Dinich

  • Terence Moore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution says give Georgia Tech a break. The Jackets might not be playing in Tampa, but they'll be in a bowl, and that's more than many outside the program expected.
  • What once seemed like a dilemma for Miami coach Randy Shannon has turned into a luxury, writes Israel Gutierrez of the Miami Herald.
  • Oh, to be a sought-after college football coach. If UNC coach Butch Davis asks for money, will Dick Baddour up the ante for Roy Williams, too? Clemson is reportedly interested in Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables.
  • Virginia Tech's offensive linemen finally calmed "The Curt" with their impressive performance against Maryland. It's been a piece of the offensive puzzle that has been missing all season.
  • Maryland won't have all of its pieces together when it hosts North Carolina this weekend, as linebacker Rick Costa has been suspended indefinitely. The Terps' defense does need to be a little more aggressive, but this is crossing the line.