New Oklahoma head coach Brent Venables made a pretty big splash when he announced that Jeff Lebby would be leaving Ole Miss to join him in Norman as the new offensive coordinator for the Sooners. His announcement regarding the new defensive coordinator didn’t necessarily elicit the same response. The news that Ted Roof would be leaving Clemson to join Venables’ staff resulted in more of a thud than it did a splash.
Roof isn’t a “sexy hire” for the Sooners, mostly because he’s a guy who petty much flew under the radar. Whereas Jeff Lebby was torching S.E.C. defenses with Matt Corral and the Rebels offensive attack, Roof was setting up in the press box in Clemson, South Carolina as a defensive analysts. That’s right, Oklahoma just hired an analysts to run the defense! We’ll at least that’s what the perception is. However, Roof is much more than that and here’s why he’s better than just a solid fit at Oklahoma.
He’s a national champion
There aren’t a lot of coaches out there on the market who have a national championship on their record. Ted Roof does! He was the man who ran the Auburn defense for then head coach Gene Chizik when the Tigers won the BCS National Championship. In that game, his defense held Oregon’s explosive offense to 30 points below its season average in scoring. The Ducks managed just 19 points that night as Auburn’s defense also came away with a safety. That 2010 Auburn team went 14-0 with Roof at the helm of the defense.
He’s got tons of experience
This is where the defensive analysts label gets misleading. Yes, that’s what his job title was at Clemson but that certainly doesn’t adequately describe his experience. Roof has literally done it all as a defensive coach. He’s coached positions (linebackers & secondary), he’s coordinated, and he’s even been a head coach (Duke 2004-2007). In all, Roof has been a part of 15 different college programs in one capacity or another. The Big 12 will become the fourth Power Five conference that he’s coached in, with the Pac-12 now becoming the only one he hasn’t.
Do you know what that kind of experience gets you? It gets you a huge footprint and notoriety when it comes to recruiting. That’s going to be one of the biggest benefits Oklahoma will get out of Roof, and it’ll be especially huge in terms of the move to the S.E.C. where he’s already gained experience at Alabama, Auburn, and Vanderbilt. This man will be well connected!
Ted is one of the most experienced coordinators and one of the best teachers in all of college football, and he’s done it in some of the premier conferences in the sport—the SEC, Big Ten and ACC. He has a tremendous wealth of knowledge and experience, most of which has been in the southeastern part of the country where he is very well connected. He’s been a head coach, is a fabulous recruiter and is one of the most revered players in Georgia Tech history from his time as a linebacker there. We’re fortunate to have a person of his stature lead our defense, and he’s going to make us stronger and tougher on that side of the ball.Brent Venables on what ted roof brings to oklahoma
His defense can score!
I already mentioned that Aubrun scored a safety in the BCS national championship game but that’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what Roof’s defense is capable of. In the 2019 season, as Appalachian State’s defensive coordinator, Roof headed a Mountaineers defense that led the nation in defensive touchdowns.
He knows what Venables likes, wants, and needs on defense
Here’s where the rubber meets the road with this hire. Brent Venables is one of the best defensive coordinators in the country and Ted Roof is going to be an extension of him. Clearly Venables plans to have a stronger hand on the defensive game planning than he does on the offensive side of the ball. That’s why he went out and hired an offensive coordinator that he can turn things over to and a defensive coordinator that he can work alongside. Roof already knows the fundamental philosophies and schemes that the Venables defense is built on and there’s an established trust between the two. It isn’t reasonable for Venables to be 100% involved on the defensive side of the ball, especially on game days, due to all the functions and responsibilities of the head coach. Roof provides the best opportunity for continuity in the defense when Venables is not available in certain situations. That’s the value of Roof. He gives this program experience, massive recruiting connections, and like-mindedness with Venables on defensive coaching philosophies. Oklahoma didn’t need to make a big splash hire at defensive coordinator, because technically Venables was the splash hire on the defensive side of the ball, they needed to make the right hire and it appears that’s what they’ve done with Ted Roof.
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