NORMAN — Two Oklahoma City television stations have reported Oklahoma has picked its starting quarterback. Sooner coach Bob Stoops vehemently disagreed early Tuesday evening
“Of course it isn’t true,” he said when asked about the validity of the reports that redshirt freshman Trevor Knight has beaten out junior Blake Bell for the starting job.
On Monday, Stoops said the winner of the competition between the two would be decided later in the week.
As of now, Stoops said both were getting “fairly equal” reps with the first and second teams.
“It’s fairly easy to see as coaches, sometimes, who’s elevating what group more,” Stoops said. “That’s what you keep trying to look at.”
As far as which quarterback is doing that, Stoops hasn’t been forthcoming with information. No assistant coaches have talked to reporters since Aug. 3 and players give only generic answers to any questions about the quarterback competition.
However, Stoops did say Tuesday night that developing a backup quarterback has been a major priority with the offensive changes the Sooners have made.
Either Bell or Knight is going to run more than any quarterback OU’s had during Stoops’ tenure. The quarterback is going to take more hits than in the past.
“We’re very aware that these guys are all capable of moving around with the ball more than maybe some we’ve had,” he said. “If that happens, they’re likely to take a few shots. And/or they’re fatigued. When you’re not an older guy that’s done it a bunch that takes a while to get used to. Sometimes there may be a place to have two guys set to play.”
But as of around 6 p.m. Tuesday, Stoops was adamant the decision on whether Bell or Knight will take the first snap still hasn’t been made.
Suspensions coming? Cornerback Cortez Johnson and defensive tackle Chuka Ndule both pled guilty to misdemeanor charges from offseason arrests. Johnson accepted a plea for misdemeanor marijuana possession, stemming from a December arrest in Norman. Ndulue accepted a differed sentence after being charged with a DUI in July.
Typically, players convicted of misdemeanors receive one-game suspensions.
Both are expected to be starters this season, but Stoops would neither confirm nor deny their status for the Aug. 31 game against Louisiana-Monroe.
“We always have that in house. I don’t ever announce those things,” he said.
Stoops, however, said Johnson has been getting a starter’s reps in practice, while Ndulue has done the same at defensive tackle.
Just like old times: Senior running backs Damien Williams and Brennan Clay are battling for the starting job. Both grew up in Southern California and Williams said Tuesday that the pair have been competing against each other since they were kids.
“Pop Warner days. I used to play defense, and he used to play offense. So I got the chance to hit him a couple times. But now we’re on the same field, in the same backfield,” Williams said. “That’s what we do. We compete. We’re playing football, and we’ve been doing that since yay-high. I feel like me and him knowing each other and competing, I think that makes us better.”
Freshmen set to play: Stoops said running back Keith Ford, wide receivers Austin Bennett, Dannon Cavil, linebackers Dominique Alexander and Jordan Evans, defensive backs L.J. Moore, Stanvon Taylor, Hatari Byrd and Ahmad Thomas are all set to play in some capacity this season. The only freshman OU’s waiting to make a decision on is defensive end D.J. Ward, who is still recovering from a splenectomy.
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