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Oklahoma football: A platoon might clear up quarterback picture

COMMENTARY — What Bob Stoops might need is to play both Blake Bell and Trevor Knight in early season games to see what the QBs do under fire.
by Berry Tramel Published: August 20, 2013

Stoops' pal Steve Spurrier went all Tom Landry against top-ranked Florida State in 1997, and Florida pulled off a 32-29 upset as Doug Johnson and Noah Brindise shuttled in and out almost every snap.

But that was for strategic reasons. Stoops doesn't need a strategic infusion. He needs clarity.

And clarity comes on Saturdays.

That's not the situation Mike Gundy faces. In Stillwater, Gundy has two quarterbacks who have faced the fire. Both Clint Chelf and J.W. Walsh (and Wes Lunt, before his transfer) have quarterbacked multiple Big 12 games, to success. Which means Gundy has plenty of data and eyewitness accounts to make a decision. Gundy knows what he has.

Stoops does not. Stoops' quarterbacks have been on the driving range and the putting green. They have yet to stand on the tee box.

The same thing occurred in 2005, when Paul Thompson and Rhett Bomar battled for the job in August. Stoops announced Thompson as the starter but said both would play against TCU in the season opener. Both did play — poorly, and OU lost 17-10. Bomar started the next week and kept that status the rest of the season.

Stoops said he resorted to a planned platoon in that 2005 season opener “just to get a feel for both of 'em, because a lot of times, we like both of 'em or feel both of 'em are capable of winning and sometimes don't feel like at that point, where neither one has played a whole bunch, they've got a chance to help take some pressure off the other guy.”

Again, I'm not advocating a platoon system. I'm calling for platooning until the quarterbacks decide the race for themselves, which is always the preferred method.

If takes a game or two or even three, so be it. When the gauntlet of Notre Dame (Sept. 28), TCU (Oct. 5) and Texas (Oct. 12) arrive, Stoops needs to know who is his best quarterback, instead of just hoping he made the right decision.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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