The Norman Transcript

Sports

November 14, 2013

QB decisions only get harder

NORMAN — This week, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops was asked if Blake Bell had done enough to be starting quarterback beyond this season.

“There’s no way to answer that question now. That doesn’t make any sense for me to answer that with three games and a bowl game left,” Stoops said.

The coach is right. Bell, who will make his eighth career start Saturday when the Sooners host Iowa State, hasn’t done nearly enough to say he will be the quarterback next season.

And that creates a massive dilemma at the quarterback position that seems to have no resolution in sight.

OU currently has four scholarship quarterbacks. Bell is joined by sophomore Kendal Thompson, redshirt freshman Trevor Knight and true freshman Cody Thomas, who is redshirting this season. The number will grow to five when Justice Hansen — the four-star recruit from Edmond Santa Fe — joins the fold either in the spring or the summer.

That’s five quarterbacks without a tried and true incumbent starter or a defined pecking order. In other words, OU has a mess on its hands.

How the Sooners and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Josh Heupel go about cleaning it up is anyone’s guess.

Based on the production of the spot this season, it won’t be easy. The quarterback-run game that was a preseason emphasis hasn’t amounted to much. As passers, the spot has clearly regressed from what Landry Jones was able to produce the previous four seasons.

The lack of production throwing the ball is clearly Heupel’s top concern.

“We’re not throwing it the way we are capable of and the way we need to win championships here,” he said.

It’s what ultimately cost Knight the job.

He started the first two games. Those calling for his return remember his ability to run. Knight has rushed for 186 yards over three games and averages 6.9 yards per carry. But it’s hard to ignore that 44.9 percent completion percentage or those two interceptions that ultimately got him benched in the fourth quarter of the West Virginia game.

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