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Paul Finebaum Reveals True Feelings On Brent Venables, Oklahoma

An extreme closeup of ESPN college football analyst Paul Finebaum from the Cotton Bowl in Texas in 2019.

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 31: TV/radio personality Paul Finebaum of the SEC Network speaks on air before the Goodyear Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium on December 31, 2015 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

It looks like ESPN's Paul Finebaum wants to temper some of the expectations being heaped on new Oklahoma head coach Brent Venables.

Last week, Oklahoma's Executive Director of Football Administration Thad Turnipseed, who worked at Alabama under Nick Saban, favorably compared his new boss to his old one. Turnipseed said Venables is "the closest thing to Nick Saban" he has ever seen.

On his ESPN radio show yesterday, Finebaum cautioned that we've heard similar things about other coaches before, only to have them fail to live up to the hype.

"Remember, we went through that for a long time — there's always the next," Finebaum said, via 247Sports. "There was the next (Bear) Bryant and then there was the next (Nick) Saban, and now Venables is the new guy. He has never won a game as a head coach, but he's the closest thing to Nick Saban we've ever seen. ... Does anyone agree with that out there?"

Finebaum did clarify that he's not projecting Venables will flop at OU, just that it's unrealistic to compare him to a coach of Saban's stature.

"I just get a little bit weary of, 'Oh, he's the next (Saban). He's the closest,'" Finebaum explained. "I already thought [Florida head coach] Billy Napier was the next Saban after what we heard the other day, all the people that say he does everything just like Saban. Who else has done everything else just like Saban?"

The defensive coordinator at Oklahoma from 1999-2011 and Clemson from 2012-21, Venables inherited a program that has won double-digit games in 18 of the last 22 seasons. The Sooners have finished the season ranked in the top 10 of the AP poll in each of the last seven years.

We'll see if he can keep OU performing at the elite level it has been for over two decades.