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Oklahoma football: QB derby bound to have awkward ending

Whether it's Blake Bell or Trevor Knight who is named the Sooners' starter, history tells us there will be some strange feelings involved.
by Berry Tramel Modified: August 18, 2013 at 10:00 am •  Published: August 17, 2013
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/articleid/3873166/1/pictures/2185383">Photo - A starter in the quarterback battle between Blake Bell, right, and Trevor Knight will be named next week. Photo by Matt Barnard, Tulsa World
A starter in the quarterback battle between Blake Bell, right, and Trevor Knight will be named next week. Photo by Matt Barnard, Tulsa World

However, such competition sharpens a quarterback. White went through three derbies yet won a Heisman Trophy after the third. Bradford won the Heisman 16 months after battling neck and neck with Joey Halzle and Keith Nichol.

“What stood out for me, every practice was like a game,” White said. “Every day, sometimes twice a day, you had to go out and give it your best.

“Every move was scrutinized, every throw was graded. Every practice you mentally prepared yourself like it was a game.

“It definitely made us better players. It's a different feeling when you're the starting quarterback.”

Thompson said he tried every little thing possible to gain an advantage. Lead 7-on-7 drills. Extra film study. “Not sabotage the other guy, but you want to put your best foot forward,” Thompson said.

Friendships aren't necessarily strained in quarterback competitions — Hybl and White stayed on decent terms — but they don't necessarily blossom, either.

“Each quarterback has his group of friends,” Thompson said. “Bomar was a little younger than me. It was more of a business relationship.

“Everybody understands, ultimately you want to have the best guy out there on the field.”

The awkwardness doesn't end after the competition is settled.

“What do you say?” Thompson said. “Do you say anything?”

Does the relationship in practice change? Is the declared starter suddenly supposed to act differently toward the now-second teamer?

Awkward. There's no other word for it.

“Anybody who says different is lying,” Thompson said.

Stoops says he won't have a team meeting after picking a quarterback. The players can figure it out for themselves.

That's the way White remembers it happening, but Thompson recalls a team meeting in 2005 in which he was announced as the starter. Another awkward moment. Maybe as good a reason as any not to do it.

The players will find out soon enough. And if they want to be the first to know, check the stairwell.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. 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 newsok.com/berrytramel.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
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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