NORMAN — Spring football is about competition. Younger players get a golden chance to prove they deserve playing time in the fall. That’s the scenario that will occur for most of Oklahoma’s roster.
At quarterback, however, the spring will serve a different purpose. The Sooners have defined Nos. 1, 2 and 3 for the first time in years with Trevor Knight, redshirt freshman Cody Thomas and true freshman Justice Hansen occupying those spots. It is a stark difference between the spring of 2013 when Knight, Blake Bell and Kendal Thompson were in a daily contest for the starting spot.
Knight is now the unquestioned starter after his Sugar Bowl MVP performance to close the season. Bell is now a full-time tight end. Thompson is focused on graduating so he can complete his transfer to Utah.
“It doesn’t change anything,” OU coach Bob Stoops said Thursday when asked how an established quarterback pecking order will affect spring drills. “You ask our players, we’ll go out and practice and no one thinks twice about it. It doesn’t mean anything to us. Just the outside world loves to talk about it, but what we do everyday, it doesn’t change a thing.”
There’s still a lot of development needed at the quarterback spot. As good as Knight was against Alabama, he’s still only made five career starts, thrown for 819 yards and has nine touchdowns. The way his last three starts ended were great, but it’s not enough to call him seasoned. The 15 practices OU conducts beginning on Saturday and over the next six weeks are designed to get him closer to that status.
“We’re excited about the fact that he’s only a sophomore, and development we feel will just continue in a really strong way,” Stoops said.
Getting Thomas and Hansen ready to play is going to be important. Knight showed toughness last season, but he did leave two games last season due to injuries.