CLEMSON — Brent Venables declined to get into specifics, but did indicate Thursday evening that there have been "multiple interview and or job opportunities" for the Clemson defensive coordinator to leave the Tigers' program for another gig in college football.
Nothing, however, quite felt right. It appears certain Venables will stay at Clemson.
"I don't really need to," Venables said, when asked if there was anything he could clear up about what might have been true and what might have been erroneous regarding coaching rumors. "Everything I said — I meant what I said when I said my focus has been here. There's nothing that was just too good to pass up. Great opportunities, but just not the right ones for me right now.
"Again, you never say never, but man, it doesn't get much better, if at all, than what we have (at Clemson). Like I said, I'm thankful for what I have and I just have a very good perspective on what we have. There are thousands of guys that would love just the opportunity to be a very small part of this program, so it's a great situation."
Venables, arguably the nation's best defensive coordinator, is no stranger to hearing his name come up in the rumor mill once head coaching gigs become vacant and this year was certainly no exception. The winner of the 2016 Broyles Award — an honor given to the nation's best assistant coach — was rumored to be a candidate at Mississippi State, Arkansas and Tennessee.
All three SEC programs had openings once Dan Mullen left Mississippi State to coach at Florida and Arkansas and Tennessee fired their respective coaches. New reports seemed to come out daily in what became one of the sport's wackiest carousels, but Venables stayed adamant that his focus was on Clemson's postseason.
The guru defensive coordinator has said multiple times over the years that he enjoys the simplicity of his current lifestyle and that sometimes just because something might seem bigger or better does not mean it necessarily is. Part of what has kept him so content at Clemson is the lifestyle he has in the upstate. His eldest son, Jake, has committed to play football at Clemson next season and his other son, Tyler, has been offered.
"I'm a simple guy ... you want to be somewhere, we all want to be, where you feel valued. You want to feel like you're good at what you do, that you're contributing and that people recognize you," Venables said. "When I say valued, it's like, man you do awesome, you don't need to get the raise or promotion. To me, I think that's what we seek out more than anything as employees, all of us.
"So I get it. You don't ever want to overstay your welcome anywhere, but I think if again, the right people are keeping the right focus, then good things don't have to come to and end. I don't believe that, that old saying that all good things must come to an end. I don't think so."
Asked if he could see himself wanting to be a head coach at any point in the future — not necessarily now, but at some point — Venables cracked a smile and said he was unsure.
He is well aware of what the rumors already in the making are.
"I don't know. I don't know. I don't know," Venables laughed when asked about being a head coach one day. "Everybody's always (saying), 'Oh he's going to Kansas State.' Hey man, look. Nobody has more love and respect for the people there and for coach (Bill) Snyder.
"But you're going to be the guy to follow modern day Bear Bryant at Kansas State? I don't know about that."