Oklahoma's first spring-game touchdown Saturday was unusual, to say the least.
On the Sooners' first offensive drive — with junior Blake Bell at quarterback — senior running back Damien Williams took a handoff and fumbled the ball forward. Senior wideout Lacoltan Bester picked it up, sprinted past the defense and scored a 35-yard touchdown.
OU coaches have praised Bester's performance throughout spring practices, and the senior, who transferred last summer from East Mississippi Community College, started the spring game.
After his odd touchdown, though, Bester didn't see much action. Bester appeared in 12 games last season, catching only three passes for 29 yards.
“Lacoltan Bester has had a huge spring,” said coach Bob Stoops. “He's really, really come on this spring. He didn't have a chance to do much today, but I've seen him through many practices this spring really play well.”
STOOPS: SPRING GAME CARRIES MORE WEIGHT IN QB BATTLE
Stoops was asked after the spring game if his three quarterbacks' performances in that setting would carry added weight when coaches decide on their 2013 starter.
“A little bit, probably,” Stoops said. “But it isn't going to be the determining factor.”
Bell completed 14 of 23 passes for 213 yards with two touchdowns. Sophomore Kendal Thompson was 8 of 15 for 86 yards and a score, and redshirt freshman Trevor Knight completed 11 of 17 passes, with 151 yards and a touchdown.
Knight also made a critical mistake deep in his own territory; he dropped a shotgun snap, which was picked up by linebacker Frank Shannon for an easy defensive touchdown.
HEUPEL HOPING FOR MORE TE INVOLVEMENT
The Sooners' tight ends didn't see much work in the passing game Saturday, outside of redshirt freshman Sam Grant, who had three catches.
Co-offensive coordinator Josh Heupel said the Sooners want to use the tight end more than they did a year ago, when Brannon Green's three catches accounted for all of the receptions from the position.
“How many times in the Coach Stoops era had you played without tight ends? Last year, we played without them 90 percent of the time,” Heupel said. “We were a lot different than we had been in the past. We want to play with a tight end. We will play with a tight end as long as we're going to play at a level that gives us a chance to play.”
NELSON: KEEP AN EYE ON STRIKER
While Corey Nelson and Frank Shannon figure to see the majority of time at linebacker, Eric Striker has been opening some eyes there.
“That's going to be a great player in this program,” Nelson said of the sophomore from Seffner, Fla. “He's going to be very key down the road. Keep an eye on him. Strike plays with a motor. He plays with so much passion. He just has a knack for the ball and has a knack for being instinctive. He's better than I was my freshman year.”