- David Ubben, College Football
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Bill Snyder famously returned to Kansas State with the intention of "calming the waters" and restoring stability to Kansas State's program.
Well, it appears the seas at Kansas State are notably less stormy these days, fresh off a 10-win season and returning a team with the pieces to win a Big 12 title.
Down south in Oklahoma, though, the seas look a bit rockier.
Willie Martinez was let go to make room for Mike Stoops, whose arrival paved the way for what can only be classified as a demotion for Brent Venables. He's gone from the man in charge of Oklahoma's defense since 2004 to the man sharing coordinator duties with Stoops, the exact spot he sat in back in 2003.
Between now and then, head coaching opportunities have surfaced but were never consummated.
Now, it's a little different.
The new arrival at Oklahoma has Venables mulling a reported offer from Clemson, an unthinkable move in any other scenario. In this situation, it's understandable. Stoops, through no one's fault, now stands as a rather large deterrent to Venables ever becoming a head coach.
Until, well, Monday.
News out of Clemson has been quiet, and Monday night, a report surfaced that sent Kansas State DC Chris Cosh to South Florida.
Venables has a decision to make. But after a new opening at Kansas State, it should be easy for both sides.
Hire Venables immediately. Do whatever it takes to bring him back to his alma mater and have Snyder walk away from Kansas State one more time on top.
Then hand the program off to Venables.
After Will Muschamp left Texas, no coordinator in the Big 12 was more ready for a head coaching job. Venables spent six years at Kansas State coaching linebackers from 1993-98 before leaving to join Bob Stoops at Oklahoma.
Now's the time to come back. It's fallen into place for both sides.
Venables' head-coaching opportunities have slimmed a bit, but the man can still coach and put together a defense. Why else would programs like Clemson be chasing him? His road to a head coach job becomes clearer under Dabo Swinney.
But it won't be clearer anywhere else than if Snyder decides to bring his pupil back on board and hand him the reins to the program in 2013.
The dead period is over in recruiting, and the late move complicates matters on the trail, but in coaching, coaches do what's best for themselves. No one would blame Venables for leaving, just like no one blames Bob Stoops for demoting Venables in favor of a veteran head coach who's also his brother. Kansas State would get an ideal candidate for the job, someone familiar with Snyder's ways and knowledgeable about the challenges the program has to overcome to be successful.
Snyder mastered that. Venables seems the most likely to continue it.
That leaves three big questions:
Does Kansas State want to take the leap and go down the coach-in-waiting role that has failed others?
It should. The problem that derailed Muschamp at Texas was the open-ended time frame for Mack Brown to step down.
One or two years makes sense at Kansas State.
What about West Virginia? Please. Snyder's not going to be spreading salacious rumors about his understudy, and this is only a good idea if Snyder is on board. Bill Stewart was forced into handing his duties to Dana Holgorsen.
Does Venables want to take the leap?
Kansas State is a different place than Oklahoma. He won't have the nation's top talent to craft his defenses anymore. Life's going to be more difficult in The Little Apple, but is anyone more ready to handle it than Venables?
Is Snyder ready to leave again?
He hasn't exactly offered many hints that he is. That's another big hurdle to clear, and something Snyder has to eventually decide. The 72-year-old just finished his third season back at Kansas State.
But for both sides, this move makes too much sense. If Venables wants to be a head coach, Kansas State is the best and quickest option for him to do it.
If Kansas State wants the best coach to succeed Snyder a second time, the Snyder disciple and Kansas native, Venables, is their man.
4hSharon Katz, ESPN Stats & Information
1dCraig Haubert and Tom Luginbill
1dCraig Haubert and Tom Luginbill