DALLAS — It was no surprise, but the first question posed to Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops on Tuesday morning at Big 12 Media Days was on the Sooners' quarterback situation.
The question concerned Blake Bell, the presumed starter at the position after running the Belldozer package in each of the last two years behind Landry Jones.
“You're kind of making assumptions if you feel he's the guy,” Stoops said. “We've never been real excited about naming a guy too early.”
Over the past two seasons, Bell has run 102 times while attempting just 20 passes.
“We have a history in my going on 15 years of having guys at quarterback that are really excellent throwers,” Stoops said. “And Blake fits that mold. We would never recruit a guy that we didn't feel would be a great passer.”
But Stoops reiterated that both Trevor Knight and Kendal Thompson are still in the mix to be the starting quarterback.
“They all, through spring, had their ‘uh-oh' moments,” Stoops said. “They also have made great throws down the field that you want them to make.”
COLVIN DEFENDS LYNN
When talking about defensive players that could surprise this season, Sooners cornerback Aaron Colvin repeatedly brought up Gabe Lynn's name.
Lynn has been subject to plenty of derision from media and fans, especially after Texas Tech's 41-38 upset of OU in Norman in 2011.
“Gabe takes a lot of criticism from a lot of people and he's dealt with it all well,” Colvin said. “I've never heard Gabe talk negatively on anybody talking about him. I just want to see him make plays like I know he can. I grew up with Gabe so I know what he's capable of, and I just want to see him go out there and just play freely.”
Colvin said Lynn's move to safety, which happened last season, should help him be successful this year.
“I'm excited to see him go out there and shock a lot of people,” Colvin said. “I know he will.”
STOOPS STILL FEELS APPRECIATED
Stoops has heard the criticisms and felt the growing discontent over disappointing finishes in recent years.
But entering his 15th season, Stoops said he doesn't feel like he's not appreciated.
“I've never been appreciated by everybody, even in 2000,” he said. “So not everyone's going to — that's always going to be the case and any time you've been somewhere 15 years, that's something to consider.”
ROBERT SMITH TALKS SOONERS
Former Ohio State and Minnesota Vikings running back Robert Smith was at the Omni Dallas Hotel this week, covering Big 12 Media Days for ESPN.
Smith, who works as a college football analyst for the network, said he thinks Oklahoma's offense will be OK in 2013 — even with a new quarterback — but that he's unsure what to expect from the Sooners defensively.
“You're replacing a lot of guys,” Smith said of OU's defense. “You have a lot of inexperienced guys, but maybe guys who have a little more time to understand what coach Mike Stoops is trying to do.
“Offensively, they have so much talent at receiver and running back. I heard coach Bob Stoops made the point not to give the crown to Blake Bell already which I thought was kinda funny. I think they'll be fine offensively. Defensively, in the Big 12 it depends on how it all comes together and how healthy you stay.”
CAROL STOOPS COMING TO OMNI SOON, TOO
Bob isn't the only Stoops with work to do at the Omni Dallas/Dallas Convention Center.
Tuesday, Bob Stoops addressed the media at Big 12 Media Days while just down the hall, thousands of Mary Kay representatives gathered for one of five back-to-back conferences celebrating the cosmetics company's 50th anniversary.
Stoops' wife, Carol, is a Mary Kay national sales director.
Carol Stoops will be at the convention later this week.
“She comes down Friday and her seminar starts, I think, Monday through Wednesday,” Bob Stoops said. “So she'll be part of this group, just in a different seminar. (I'm) very proud of her. These women do a great job.”
Then he gave a sales pitch to the mostly male audience.
“Get your wives into it,” Stoops said. “It would be good for them. I'm recruiting.”
IKARD TRASH-TALKING LEBRON: ‘IT DID NOT GO WELL'
Oklahoma senior center Gabe Ikard admitted that LeBron James got the best of him in February, when the two went back-and-forth during the Oklahoma City Thunder's 110-100 loss to the Miami Heat.
“It did not go well,” Ikard said Tuesday during an appearance at Big 12 Media Days.
Ikard, a die-hard Thunder fan, sits courtside at most home games, and let James have it during the Heat's Feb. 14 win inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.
After the game, James — who scored 39 points and grabbed 12 rebounds that night — talked about the then-anonymous Oklahoma City fan.
“He told me to shoot it,” LeBron said of the courtside fan to reporters. “He said, ‘Shoot it, you can't shoot.' So I said OK. So I shot it.”
Ikard said trash talking with the NBA superstar was a “good memory,” but declined to reveal what James said to him.
“I can't tell you that,” Ikard said with a laugh. “It wouldn't be played on the Disney Channel; I'm just telling you that.
“It was fun. He enjoyed it; I enjoyed it. He got the upper hand. So he went ahead and let me know about it.”
MILLARD REVISITS MEMORABLE PLAY VS. TEXAS
Oklahoma fullback Trey Millard's incredible, highlight-reel moment during last year's 63-21 rout of Texas was a popular topic of conversation Tuesday at Big 12 Media Days.
Early in the second quarter, Millard caught a short pass in the flats. Texas' Mykkele Thompson dove at his legs, so Millard leapfrogged him and — at the same time — forearmed the Longhorns' Adrian Phillips to the ground, then sprinted 73 yards, the longest pass play in Red River Rivalry history.
A few plays later, Bell rushed for the second of his four touchdowns that day.
“I was like, ‘What the heck just happened?'” Ikard remembered. “I was running down the field; I was dying. I was like, ‘Please score. I've run this far; please get in.' He didn't score and we had to run like three more plays. He about passed out.
“It was an incredible play. One of those plays that you'll never forget. One of those plays that OU fans will never forget. They already put a giant picture of it happening on the wall in the locker room. That's gonna be one of my most vivid memories of college football.”
Millard said he only re-watches the play “every once in a while” when somebody sends him a video of it. He added that he's never made a play quite like that before, but wasn't surprised at himself, either.
“I know I have that kind of confidence in my play and my ability,” Millard said. “I just got blessed with an opportunity there to showcase it.”