The Norman Transcript

Sports

April 12, 2014

Red-White Game won’t showcase all the starters

NORMAN — It has been a bit over four months since Oklahoma played in front of a real audience. That will change at 2 p.m. today when the Sooners take the field for the Red-White game.

However, this won’t be anywhere near a full preview of what OU intends to put on the field in August. At least 11 potential starters, including wide receiver Sterling Shepard, tight end Blake Bell, defensive tackle Jordan Phillips, offensive linemen Tyrus Thompson and Adam Shead, and safety Julian Wilson, won’t play due to injuries.

Instead, the scrimmage will be an afternoon establishing roles and getting a leg up in several position battles that have brewed throughout the spring.

“Just development and developing depth, players that haven’t played as much showing us and prove to us daily that you’re ready to play at a consistent level, that we can put you on the field and trust you,” OU coach Bob Stoops said when asked what he wanted to see today.

· Quarterbacks Cody Thomas and Justice Hansen: Trevor Knight is the established starter, but there is a much-needed competition between Thomas and Hansen. There has to be one. Knight left two games due to injury last season. The Sooners’ coaching staff believes a No. 2 quarterback that can play in critical situations is a necessity.

Thomas is clearly the leader in this race. He should be. He’s coming out of redshirt and today will mark Hansen’s 14th practice.

“They’re all young and because of that they make some mistakes, some simple things and simple plays that you’d like them to make sometimes, but they just need more time on task,” OU offensive coordinator Josh Heupel said. “They’re getting better every day, recognizing defenses, understanding what we’re doing and they’re making the strides we want them to.”

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