Why Oklahoma Players Refer to Defensive Coordinator Zac Alley as a ‘Reincarnation’ of Their Head Coach

Following two seasons with Ted Roof, Brent Venables and Oklahoma parted ways with their former defensive coordinator after the conclusion of the Sooners’ 2023 season. In place of the now-UCF defensive coordinator, OU enlisted Zac Alley, formerly with Clemson under Venables, and previously serving as defensive coordinator at Louisiana-Monroe and Jacksonville State.

During his spring media day press conference, Venables discussed Oklahoma’s new linebackers coach and defensive coordinator, emphasizing the timing for change and the infusion of fresh ideas and perspectives as they transition to the SEC. Venables praised Alley’s energetic approach, intelligence, teamwork, and adaptability in building defensive strategies around the team’s roster.

At just 30 years old, Alley’s coaching journey includes a stint as a graduate assistant under Venables at Clemson, followed by coaching roles at Boise State, ULM, and JSU. Alley’s appointment sparked comparisons to a youthful Venables due to their shared defensive prowess.

Both fans and players noted the resemblance between Venables and Alley, citing similar coaching philosophies and intensity. Freshman safety Reggie Powers III and transfer cornerback Dez Malone commended Alley’s coaching style, likening it to Venables’. Powers and Malone, with impressive backgrounds, look forward to contributing to the Sooners’ defense under Alley’s guidance.

As OU gears up for its inaugural SEC season, the cohesion between Venables and Alley, coupled with their Clemson connection, promises a smoother defensive operation. Alley’s transition to a Power 5 defensive coordinator marks a pivotal moment as the Sooners aim to make their presence felt in the SEC.

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