NORMAN — The derby to become Oklahoma’s next starting quarterback officially started Saturday with the Sooners’ first practice of the spring. The workout was junior Blake Bell’s, sophomore Kendal Thompson’s and redshirt freshman Trevor Knight’s initial opportunity to prove which is the successor to Landry Jones.
However, the one thing made clear by Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and offensive coordinator Josh Heupel is that winning the job is going to be a tedious process.
“We’re gonna name a guy when he’s earned it. That’s what we’ve always done here,” Heupel said this week. “That position is extremely important, I think, for that guy to go out and earn that position, earn the confidence of the guys around him. Earn the trust of the people around him so he can ultimately lead that group, that offense, in the way that we want him to.”
Trust will be what ultimately decides who takes the reins of the Sooners’ offense. The race between Bell, Thompson and Knight is distinct among past offseason competitions for quarterbacks in that this one will come as the offense is being retooled to take advantage of the group’s running ability.
All three have the ability to pick up first downs with their feet in ways Jones never could have imagined. Bell, who is the front-runner to get the job, has already proven it over the last two seasons. He’s already rushed for 24 touchdowns, using his 6-foot-6, 263-pound frame.
Neither Thompson or Knight have played an official game, but have displayed elusive running ability going all the way back to high school.
In one form or another this is crucial the Sooners’ offense.
“To a degree it will be,” OU coach Bob Stoops said. “We’ll do our best not to give away exactly how we want to do it but in the end, there will be a little bit of that, for sure.”