The Norman Transcript

OU Sports

December 18, 2013

Sooners juggling offensive line with injuries to Thompson, Shead

NORMAN — For the last month, Oklahoma has cobbled together offensive game plans based on who was available. Injuries necessitated a lot of changes on the fly.

Some of those injuries have healed. Both quarterbacks — Trevor Knight and Blake Bell — are healthy as the Sooners prepare to face No. 3 Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

Others ailments will not. Both left tackle Tyrus Thompson and left guard Adam Shead are expected to miss the game with injuries.

But at least offensive coordinator Josh Heupel knows what he expects to have available when the Sooners take the field Jan. 2 at the Super Dome.

“We mixed and matched and some of it was planned and some of it wasn’t. You have a couple different injuries that happened in the last couple weeks of the season. You try to put those guys in position to be successful,” he said. “We’ll have a mixture of a little bit of everything heading into the Sugar Bowl and try to give ourselves a chance to win the ballgame.”

The 11th-ranked Sooners haven’t named a starting quarterback for the game, and it’s highly unlikely that they will.

The reason: they want the Crimson Tide to prepare for both and the unique challenges both bring.

It was on display in the victory against Oklahoma State 11 days ago. The Sooners shifted from an option, running team when Knight was injured late in the first half, to a spread passing team with Bell on the field.

“We’ve battled injuries and we’ve battled adversity, but we’ve always found people to step up and make plays,” Knight said. “People got down on us, but here we are with a 10-win team and in the Sugar Bowl against a great Alabama team.”

Which will OU favor against the Crimson Tide? Neither OU coach Bob Stoops or Heupel will tip his hand.

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