The Norman Transcript

February 3, 2014

Backup QB Thomas pulling diamond duty

By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — There isn’t a single athlete at Oklahoma cramming more into a day than Cody Thomas. The freshman quarterback, who redshirted this past season, wakes up early every morning for football workouts. Then he attends classes until the early afternoon. The day ends at L. Dale Mitchell Park where the Sooners would love him in the lineup every day.

But can Thomas keep up with all the demands for the next couple months?

“It’s my job and the football coaches’ and the strength and conditioning coaches’ jobs to try to minimize what’s on this kid’s plate so he can help us win in baseball and help us win in football,” OU baseball coach Pete Hughes said Saturday. “I think all parties involved are on the same page and doing the best for Cody.”

Ultimately, it will be up to Thomas to decide where his priorities lie. All signs point toward him being the Sooners’ No. 2 quarterback next season. Kendal Thompson announced last month he will transfer. Blake Bell hasn’t made that decision, but OU coach Bob Stoops said he will discuss a position change to tight end with the senior.

If that’s the case, Thomas and freshman Justice Hansen from Edmond Santa Fe will join Trevor Knight as OU’s three scholarship quarterbacks next season.

However, Thomas’ isn’t playing baseball as a way to pass the time. He was drafted in the 30th round in 2013 MLB Draft by the New York Yankees. Two MLB scouts told the Transcript last summer he would have been selected much higher if professional teams believed he was willing to skip college and sign a contract.

Hughes said those skills were obvious when Thomas made his first practice appearance.

“Cody looks like a kid who hasn’t played baseball in six months,” he said. “So, we throw him out there his first day and he’s sliding and gets three hits. That tells you how talented of an athlete he is.”

But how does Hughes develop that talent?

Thomas certainly didn’t participate in fall baseball. The demands on his time will only tighten when the Sooners begin spring practice in March. They’ll only hold 15 practices, but they come at the time the Sooners open the Big 12 portion of their baseball schedule and they’re consistently playing four games a week.

Ultimately, Hughes doesn’t know how it will work out. Thomas is on a football scholarship and the demands of that sport get top priority.

Nonetheless, having Thomas on a part-time basis is something the baseball coach is willing to accept.

“He’s athletic enough to make up for lost time — I’ll tell you that,” Hughes said. “He’s a big, imposing, athletic kid with a serious ability to hit for power. I’m looking forward to seeing his growth in our program.”

John Shinn

Follow me @john_shinn

jshinn@normantranscript.com

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