Oklahoma, Oklahoma State playing coy with QB battles

COMMENTARY — Even though Mike Gundy and Bob Stoops have yet to officially anoint their starters, Clint Chelf and Blake Bell will lead their respective offenses.
by Berry Tramel Modified: July 28, 2013 at 10:00 am •  Published: July 27, 2013
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There's not any waffling in Waco.

Compare that to OU, where Stoops' heir apparent is just as apparent as Briles'.

Yet Stoops says the three-way battle between Bell, Kendal Thompson and Trevor Knight will be determined by “consistency in how the quarterbacks perform, how they come to practice every day, how they go from drill to drill, how they work. Who's doing the best job of it.

“And a big thing at the position, who avoids the disastrous play. That's a big deal. Those one or two plays where you fumble the ball or throw an interception can change a game.”

Stoops consistently has waited until mid-August to name a quarterback when there's been a derby, though he didn't in 2003, picking Jason White after a spring that seemed much more uncertain for OU quarterbacks than spring 2013.

And Gundy didn't wait as recently as April 2012, when he named Lunt the starter after spring practice, for the purposes of identifying a summer leader.

Of course, Bell and Chelf aren't the only obvious choices who have yet to be christened. Texas Tech's Michael Brewer and TCU's Casey Pachall are the obvious quarterbacks on their respective campuses.

Pachall was voted preseason all-Big 12, and TCU coach Gary Patterson even admitted he asked Pachall if he wanted to attend Big 12 Media Days, though Pachall declined, wanting to stay low-key as he returns from rehab after getting suspended from school last autumn.

That leaves only two true quarterback battles: Kansas State (Daniel Sams and junior-college transfer Jake Waters) and West Virginia (Paul Millard and Florida State transfer Clint Trickett).

Weis said he twice has kept the quarterback competition open until the doorstep of the season opener, and it was a disaster both times.

Weis said he knows why coaches do that: “Their approach is to keep it at a competition as long as they possibly can, to not let their opponents know who they're preparing for. There's nothing wrong with doing that. It's just not my approach.”

Many of the coaches have an out, in that they figure to play multiple quarterbacks. OU's Belldozer has inspired many teams to have situational quarterbacks, as OSU did with Walsh early and late last season. And Patterson says that's a possibility at TCU.

“If it is Casey as the starter, you have a Trevone (Boykin) that really can beat you with his legs,” Patterson said. “He had an unbelievable spring, to be honest with you.”

Using two quarterbacks, Patterson said, makes defenses adjust. “I think you have to get ready for both of them, just like we've done for other schools in this conference. For a defensive guy, that's a lot different animal because you've got to put a lot more work into it.”

Mind games. That's what that is. Football coaches are quite good at it. Except maybe for Charlie Weis, who just tells it straight and lets us know that while Stoops and Gundy are undeclared, they are not undecided.

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...
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