The Norman Transcript

Sports

August 27, 2013

Coaching staff, players come to defense of starting quarterback selection

(Continued)

NORMAN —

How good remains to be seen. Linebacker Corey Nelson set the bar pretty high Monday, comparing him to Texas A&M Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel.

“ I feel like if you put him in Texas A&M’s offense, the same way they have with Manziel and you take Manziel out, it will be the exact same Texas A&M offense that they have,” Nelson said. “His skills are equivalent to Manziel’s. He’s able to run, he’s so mobile and he can throw it on the run. He’s outstanding.”

Stoops is still tight-lipped about what it will all mean for the offense. He’s entering his 15th season as head coach. Outside of Bell in the short-yardage package OU has run the last two years, the quarterback has never been part of the run game. Nor have they been asked to do much other than throw from the pocket.

Both are expected to change.

“That’s something we’ll see as it goes, but there will be, just, some,” Stoops said.

As far as what that means for Bell, Stoops said there’s still a role for him in the game plan. The coach and his teammates went out of their way to heap praise on the junior. After all, he spent last season, the spring and the initial part of preseason practices as the presumptive next in line at the position.

Stoops insists Bell still has a role beyond the second spot on the quarterback depth chart.

For one, the short-yardage package Bell has quarterbacked for 24 touchdowns over the last two seasons is still in use.

“We’ll feel comfortable even expanding on that and giving him more opportunities other ways in that package,” he said.

The other issue that is still hanging out there is Knight will be playing in his career game Saturday. It’s the one part of the quarterback competition that is still incomplete. Neither has been the starting quarterback before.

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