NORMAN — Two games into the season, with Notre Dame only two weeks away, the Sooners are switching quarterbacks. Blake Bell makes his starting debut Saturday against Tulsa, with Trevor Knight hobbled and benched, not necessarily in that order.
It's enough to worry the masses, who so far see a strong running game and a stiff defense, needing only an on-target passer to return to glory.
To which the rest of college football says, welcome to our world.
The Sooners will start in eight days the same number of quarterbacks they started in six years, during the Sam Bradford/Landry Jones dynasty. The former is much more common than the latter.
LSU is in a perpetual state of quarterback upheaval under Les Miles. Texas A&M starts every other season with a ballyhooed QB who manages to finish the year on the bench. OSU's carousel, you know all about. And don't get me started on mediocre programs' eternal search for a quarterback.
But OU? Sooner quarterbacking is more stable than PepsiCo. Injuries back in the day prompted a couple of Nate Hybl/Jason White switches, but Bob Stoops has swapped quarterbacks really only once because of ineffectiveness, 2005.
And OU quarterbacking has been mostly pristine. Not perfect. But pristine. About the third time one of Knight's swing passes hit feet in a cleat, everyone started to realize the value of Landry Jones' accuracy.
So should optimism or pessimism prevail? Pessimism because the dynasty is broken up. Optimism because the same process that produced 14 years of mostly stellar quarterbacking remains in place.
“I feel very confident we'll get it ironed out,” Stoops said.
Here's why. Stoops always has. Through scouting, recruiting, development and confidence, the Sooner staff has produced rock-solid quarterbacking.
“We have recruited well,” Stoops said. “Starting with Josh (Heupel), when no one else wanted him.”
Heupel, a guy literally unrecruited by other major-conference programs, won a national title and was a consensus All-American.
“We've always wanted guys with character, excellent passers, doesn't have to be a huge arm, but good passers,” Stoops said. “And good athletes. We've had better athletes than maybe we've been given credit for, just because we haven't run 'em a bunch.”
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