Do not be surprised if Blake Bell wins Oklahoma's quarterback derby

OU coach Bob Stoops tends to go with experienced guys at quarterback. Just look at the evidence.
by Jenni Carlson Published: April 12, 2013

The quarterback battle between Blake Bell, Trevor Knight and Kendal Thompson will be front and center Saturday afternoon during Oklahoma's spring game.

As well it should be.

The Sooners haven't had to wonder who their quarterback was going to be since 2007. That's nearly unheard of stability in college football. For the first time in six years, the position is going to be filled by someone not named Bradford or Jones.

So, yes, this quarterback battle is a big deal.

It's a rare deal at OU, too. Quarterback competitions have been few and far between during Bob Stoops' tenure.

But as everyone scrutinizes every moment of every play trying to determine who will be named the starter, keep your eye on the veteran. Considering the man in charge, the job is almost sure to go to Bell.

Stoops tends to go with experienced guys at quarterback.

Just look at the evidence.

There have been four true quarterback battles in the Stoops Era.

In 2001, Nate Hybl and Jason White duked it out for the job. The competition lasted until mid-August when Hybl, a junior, edged out White, a sophomore, for the starting job.

(White ultimately took over for an injured Hybl, who ultimately got the job back when White tore his knee.)

In 2003, the Sooners had four guys vying for the quarterback job — White, Paul Thompson, Brent Rawls and Noah Allen — because White was recovering from his second knee injury. White was named the starter in the summer and went on to win the Heisman in the fall.

In 2005, Thompson and Rhett Bomar battled to replace White. Stoops ultimately picked Thompson, a junior, over Bomar, a redshirt freshman.

(After a shaky opener in a loss to TCU, Thompson was replaced by Bomar.)

In 2007, Sam Bradford beat out Joey Halzle and Keith Nichol in a quarterback battle that raged all the way into two-a-days. Bradford, a redshirt freshman, eventually beat out Halzle, a junior. While this was a case of the younger guy getting the nod, Bradford really wasn't that far behind Halzle, having been on campus only a semester less than the junior college transfer.

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by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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