Oklahoma football: A look inside Cody Thomas' two-sport spring

While Cody Thomas is competing for OU’s backup quarterback job, he’s also trying to fight his way into the outfield rotation for Pete Hughes’ OU baseball team.
by Jenni Carlson Published: April 5, 2014
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NORMAN — Cody Thomas hasn’t gone to the wrong practice or shown up at the wrong stadium this spring.

“Not yet,” he said.

Only one more week to go.

The Oklahoma freshman is the baseball-playing quarterback or the football-playing outfielder, depending on your vantage point. No matter how you see it, though, this has been an interesting spring for Thomas, who’s vying for the backup quarterback job while trying to bust into the outfield rotation.

His two-sport spring culminates next weekend with football’s Red-White Game smack in the middle of baseball’s three-game series against Red River rival Texas.

“I was pretty busy in high school,” Thomas said of balancing football and baseball at Heritage in Colleyville, Texas, “but this is college level and it’s a whole other deal.

“I’ve become a really good time manager, I’ll say that.”

He laughed.

So, he’s kept his sense of humor.

Standing on the field at Mitchell Park after baseball practice this past week, you could see that he’s kept his sanity, too. That’s no small thing since he’s been balancing baseball season with spring football for the past month or so.

How has it worked?

Thomas is on a full football scholarship, so football takes precedence whether in the fall or the spring. Football practices. Football meetings. All of those come before baseball obligations.

But even with that, Thomas hasn’t missed all that many baseball commitments this spring. There have been a few practices that he missed, though the coaches have helped him get in batting practice when his schedule allows, and there have only been two games that he’s had to skip.

Baseball coach Pete Hughes and offensive coordinator Josh Heupel devised a plan for Thomas before spring football began, and while a few surprises have popped up here and there, things have mostly gone as planned.

“We want him to have success in both” sports, Sooner football coach Bob Stoops said, “and I know (the baseball coaches) want him to, too.”

Mission accomplished, Thomas said. He thinks he’s made strides in both sports this spring. On the baseball field, he feels like he’s improved his opposite-field hitting and is better at getting his hands inside the ball. On the football field, he feels like his footwork is vastly better than when he arrived on campus last summer.

And he’s gotten bigger and stronger, which helps in both sports. He arrived on campus with 200 pounds on 6-foot-5 frame. Now, he’s just under 220.

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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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