CLEMSON — Late Wednesday night, Dabo Swinney got his man. .
The (Charleston) Post and Courier reported that Swinney sent a text saying "BV to Clemson. Go Tigers."
Unless you were living under a rock Wednesday, "BV" is Brent Venables, who Swinney has chased for the past week as his new defensive coordinator.
Venables replaces Kevin Steele, who Clemson announced will not return for the 2012 season following a disappointing 2011 campaign that wrapped up with a 70-33 Orange Bowl loss to West Virginia.
Venables also confirmed to The Oklahoman newspaper that he has accepted a job at Clemson.
The late-night text messages ended a wild, back-and-forth Wednesday with conflicting reports of Venables' status on both sides. He is expected to be introduced as the Tigers' new DC as early as Friday.
Wednesday afternoon, CUTigers.com reported that Venables' contract had been sent to CU's Board of Trustees for approval.
However, the Tulsa World reported that Venables said, via text message, “I’m staying” with Oklahoma.
Venables told SoonerScoop.com, a Rivals.com affiliate, via text that he was "working through some final details" and "nothing was final either way yet."
Venables is an original member of Bob Stoops’ Oklahoma coaching staff, hired by Stoops in 1999.
He just finished his 13th season as the Sooners’ defensive coordinator, but is looking for a fresh start. Last week, Stoops announced that his younger brother Mike was rejoining the staff and serving as co-defensive coordinator with Venables. The two shared the same position from 1999-2003, when Mike left to become Arizona’s head coach, but Venables had been the lone DC for the last eight seasons. It wasn’t clear who would have playcalling duties, but returning to shared responsibilities would be a clear step back for Venables.
According to published reports, Venables makes near $500,000 annually at Oklahoma. While the Sooners were willing to offer a raise, they reportedly can’t match Clemson’s offer, which is expected to nearly double his current salary.
Like Steele, Venables coaches linebackers. He has led strong defenses at Oklahoma; two years ago, the Sooners were seventh nationally in both scoring and total defense. However, they slipped to 53rd nationally in 2010 and 55th nationally in 2011, allowing 241 yards passing per game (79th nationally).
However, those numbers could be a function of going against stronger offenses as a whole. This year, Big 12 offenses averaged 34.5 points per game, best among BCS leagues. They averaged 76.2 plays per game, which was also a BCS-high.
The ACC, meanwhile, averaged 27 points per game – lowest among BCS leagues, and 68.5 plays per game, third-lowest among BCS leagues.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma, No.1 nationally in plays per game a year ago with 87.6, ran 80.9 per game this year, both clear functions of a fast-paced offense.
However, the Sooners did lead the Big 12 in scoring defense this season, allowing 22.1 points per game, 31st nationally.
Venables is the only candidate believed to have received a serious interview from Swinney; he visited Clemson last Saturday and Sunday. Former Miami coach Randy Shannon was expected to receive an interview, but Swinney spent the week recruiting, not on campus focusing on candidates.
Last week, he said he had multiple candidates in mind, but wasn’t opposed to making a quick decision.
“All I can do is follow through on the process,” he said. “When I know I’ll know, like I did last year (when hiring Chad Morris as offensive coordinator). I couldn’t deny my gut and what I thought was the best thing.
“It might be a little out of the box. It might be tonight, and it might be in two weeks.”