The last time Bob Stoops had a legitimate quarterback derby, he didn't pick a quarterback until 11 days before the season opener. And Sam Bradford was the quarterback Stoops eventually picked.
Mike Gundy doesn't plan to wait that long. Gundy plans to pick the next OSU quarterback in the near wake of the Cowboy spring finale, if not sooner.
“I'm not really excited about the team not knowing who their quarterback is all summer,” Gundy said.
So if he can, Gundy soon will name a starter from the trio of Clint Chelf, J.W. Walsh and Wes Lunt.
But the differing philosophies are fascinating. Gundy wants to identify his team leader as early as possible; Stoops doesn't mind keeping everyone, including the quarterbacks themselves, guessing.
“They both need to continue to compete,” Stoops said of his general philosophy on quarterback competition.
Stoops certainly isn't talking about recent Sooner seasons; either Bradford or Landry Jones has gone into the last five OU springs with the job nailed down.
“There's so much that can happen from now through the summer work and their training and how they work in the off-season, even to two-a-days. I don't know that the fact that they remain competitive isn't the best way.”
Gundy sees it differently. He wants Brandon Weeden's successor ID'd soon. Wants the Cowboys to know who's leading the Posse long before August.
“I would like to make a decision after spring ball, so going into summer workouts, which are so important, we would know who our quarterback is,” Gundy said.
“We won't do it all until we know for sure who it is. But I would just as soon someone take it and run with it. I think it helps with the development of your team if they know who the quarterback is.”
Funny how two coaches, each fabulously successful, see a situation in such diverse ways.
There's not necessarily a wrong way or a right way. Just a different way.
Five times Stoops has gone into spring practice not knowing who his next quarterback would be. Four of the five times, Stoops has waited until mid-August or later to name a starter:
* 2001: Nate Hybl picked over Jason White, Aug. 16, nine days before the opener.
* 2002: White picked over Hybl, Aug. 19, 11 days before the opener.
* 2005: Paul Thompson picked over Rhett Bomar, Aug. 25, nine days before the opener.
* 2007: Bradford picked over Keith Nichol, Aug. 21, 11 days before the opener.
The only time Stoops picked early was in 2003, when White was recovering from a second knee operation, and Stoops named White on June 19, mostly because Brent Rawls goofballed his way out of contention.
“My feeling is there's so much that can happen from the end of spring,” Stoops said. “Just think about the amount of time before you take a snap in a game. So I always felt having our guys continue to remain very competitive was the best thing.”
But Gundy falls on the side of leadership. Wants his man place in quickly so the team can rally around its new foreman.
“I don't know if I have that luxury or not,” Gundy said. “As soon as it's established, we would like to say, ‘You're the starter, you get this many reps. You're the backup, you get this many reps.'
“If we have the luxury of naming the starters at the end of spring practice or with four or five practices left, if somebody really takes off, we want to do it as quick as possible.”
As for the organizational benefits of having a designated leader in the summer, someone to rally the troops for workouts, Stoops said, “I think that's overrated. What, Ryan Broyles can't do that? A big-time receiver can't orchestrate it? Or the two (quarterbacks) can't say, ‘Hey, we're meeting at this time.'
“Or your team pride. What, I need the quarterback to tell me I need to come in here and work hard? You've got 100 guys on a team … they oughtta all be pushing each other to get in here and work.
“Heck, (tight end) Jermaine Gresham could have grabbed everybody by the throat and made sure they were here.”
Stoops' wait-til-August method has mostly been successful. The 2001 and 2002 decisions were torpedoed by injury. 2005 was a mess, but 2003 (White) and 2007 (Bradford) led to Heismans.
This is Gundy's first real quarterback derby. In spring 2005, Donovan Woods was an incumbent starter. In 2006 and 2007, Bobby Reid, who had taken over the job in '05 before an injury, clearly was the best QB. After that, Zac Robinson and Weeden lapped the competition.
Now Gundy has a decision to make, and he's ready to make it, even though his counterpart down south would preach patience.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.