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Oklahoma football: Five pressing questions facing the Sooners

The Sooners have some issues to resolve heading into the 2013 season — here's a look at five of the most pressing ones.
by Jason Kersey Modified: July 22, 2013 at 6:00 pm •  Published: July 22, 2013

Regardless of who wins the quarterback battle between Blake Bell, Kendal Thompson or Trevor Knight, expect to see much more running from the position. Whether those plays come by design or not, any of the three will show far more mobility than departed four-year starter Landry Jones.

The Sooners still have a strong, talented receiver corps and a deep group of impressive running backs, so if the quarterback produces at a high level, OU could be in for a special season offensively.

2. Is the starting quarterback job Blake Bell's to lose?

Based on his experience and his performance in the spring game, it's tough to imagine Thompson or Knight beating out Bell to be the Sooners' starter against Louisiana-Monroe.

Yes, the vast majority of Bell's game experience came in the “Belldozer” short-yardage package, but many of those moments were in big games under the brightest lights. His arm strength has been questioned, but in the past two spring games, Bell showed he's capable of passing effectively. It would seemingly take a disastrous showing from Bell in fall camp — or an unbelievable one from Thompson or Knight — for anyone other than the Belldozer to command the offense in 2013.

1. Can the Sooners retake their place among the nation's elite in 2013?

Throughout Bob Stoops' tenure as head coach, Oklahoma has often performed its best when expectations were the lowest.

Even so, the Sooners enter 2013 with several important position groups that remain mysteries. What kind of play will OU get from its new quarterback? Can the thin offensive line stay healthy?

Will the Sooners re-establish their dominant play on the defensive line — a staple throughout much of the Stoops era that fell off drastically last season — even with a vastly inexperienced group of players expected to take on leading roles? Will linebackers become a big part of the scheme again? Besides senior Aaron Colvin, who can be relied upon to perform consistently in the defensive backfield?

Until those issues are resolved, it's tough to imagine Oklahoma as a true national-title contender in 2013.

by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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