Brent Venables is a passionate guy by nature.
So when the Oklahoma football coach was asked if his players were excited entering summer workouts, his immediate answer wasn’t surprising.
“How could you not [be]?” Venables said.
It’s clear he’s excited, too.
Venables met with the media prior to the Sooners’ Coaches Caravan Thursday in Oklahoma City, which began late last month alongside OU basketball coaches Porter Moser and Jennie Baranczyk. Venables discussed his own excitement following the Sooners’ spring game last month.
The spring game was an important milestone, and the fans delivered. 75,360 attended the annual event back in April, which marked the largest attendance in OU history and the most of any program this year. For Venables, the game gives the team momentum heading into the summer.
“It was an electric environment,” Venables said. “You could see it even through the TV. They did a great job of portraying it the right way. It was a special day. I’ve said this before, [it was] just sending the message of just turning the page as a program.
The Sooners have made some moves since the game, particularly in the transfer portal. They added Pittsburgh transfer Davis Beville and Tyler Junior College transfer General Booty to beef up their quarterback room, along with Arizona State wide receiver LV Bunkley-Shelton.
The coaching staff has also stayed in contact with the recruits who committed during the early signing period, and Venables said the priority is to continue to mold them and help them grow during the off season.
“Going to college is all about transformation, Going from boyhood to manhood,” Venables said. “When you’re dealing with college football, that’s part of the transformation, too... That’s one of the funnest parts of being a coach — to be a part of that transformation. There is a lot to be excited about for everybody.”
Thursday marked the seventh and final stop of the coaches caravan.
The caravan began April 28 in Tulsa and included stops in Duncan, Amarillo, Houston, Dallas and Wichita. Venables and Baranczyk went to all seven, with Moser joining them everywhere but Wichita.
The three coaches met with OU fans and talked about the future of their programs during the tour. When asked about his favorite memory on the caravan Thursday, Moser didn’t hesitate.
“I wasn’t supposed to go on the Amarillo one, but my schedule changed that morning and I went, ‘Sure, I’ll go,’” Moser said. “Then our plane broke down, so we had to drive back. That was one for the ages watching [OU athletic director] Joe Castiglione, Brent, Jennie, myself and Toby [Rowland] stop at a gas station to load up on snacks, and [we] got in a sprinter van to drive four-and-a-half hours. As bad as that was and as mad as we were feeling, we turned it into a positive just because of the company that we held driving back in that van.”
Venables said he loved the tour because he got to hear from OU fans and also spent time around the two basketball coaches.
“My favorite personal part when it comes to the coaching experience with Jennie and Porter is just being able to learn from them,” Venables said. “They’re two amazing leaders. They have infectious energy. They have so much success in building programs and connecting with people. They’re just 10 and 15 steps ahead of everybody with how they think and how they work. I think it’s neat to hear, in their sport, their different struggles and success…. They’re going to be really, really fun to watch. We’re fortunate to have them.”
Broadcast information for five of OU football’s games next season was announced Thursday.
The biggest change is with the Sooners’ game against Iowa State, which has been moved to Saturday, Oct. 29 and will be broadcast on FOX or FS1. The game was originally scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 27. A kickoff time has not been announced.
The first game of the Brent Venables era — Sept. 3 at home against UTEP — will kickoff at 2:30 p.m. and will be televised on Fox. The Sept. 10 contest against Kent State will kickoff at 6 p.m. and air on SoonerVision on ESPN+.
The Sooners will close out their non-conference schedule on Sept. 17 at Nebraska. The game will kick off at 11 a.m. and be televised by FOX.
The OU-Texas Game on Oct. 8 will air on ABC. A kickoff time has not been announced.
The annual Red River Showdown between OU and Texas, to be played Oct. 8 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, will air on ABC. A kickoff time is not expected to be announced until late September.