What OU football coach Brent Venables said about Zac Alley, spring practice, and the SEC move.

OU football coach Brent Venables held a press conference on Wednesday before the Sooners’ first spring practice session, which starts Monday.

The first topic was the new defensive coordinator, Zac Alley, who replaced Ted Roof in January.

“He’s bringing fresh ideas and a new perspective,” Venables said of Alley. “He’s got a lot of energy and enthusiasm. He’s a great teammate and incredibly tough.”

Venables had previously worked with Alley when Alley was a student and graduate assistant at Clemson from the time Venables became Clemson’s defensive coordinator until 2018.

However, Venables noted that Alley’s defense will differ from what he ran at Clemson, as Alley has developed through his experiences at Boise State, Louisiana-Monroe, and Jacksonville State.

“There will be a lot of new elements in his approach, but also a lot of familiarity,” Venables said.

Here are more takeaways from Venables’ press conference:

Venables’ wife, Julie, has “zero cancer” after her 2023 diagnosis

Spring practice for the OU football team starts Monday.
Justin Harrington’s eligibility waiver approved
Venables provided updates on recent hires and player statuses.

The most significant update was that linebacker/defensive back Justin Harrington, who started last season at the cheetah position, received an extra year of eligibility and will return.

“Harrington and wide receiver Andrel Anthony, who was injured against Texas, are both making good progress,” Venables said. “Justin is dedicated and talented, with a strong understanding of our commitment and methods.”

Harrington was a standout in last year’s preseason camp, excelling at the hybrid cheetah position.