Last season Drew Allen was the No. 2 quarterback for Oklahoma. This year redshirt freshman Blake Bell is in a battle with Allen for the backup role behind Landry Jones.
“Those guys continue to push each other every day,” said offensive coordinator Josh Heupel. “We want those guys to fight for their job, earn their job. Both of those guys continue to make strides.”
The highly touted Bell, who is more comfortable with the offense, might be the better long-term candidate.
“Last season I was seeing a bunch of jumble,” Bell said. “In the spring game, I was starting to get there. That was really my first playing time since high school. At this level it's a lot faster. Now everything is slowing down a little bit.”
Heupel said the competition could continue into the season, but the backup usually gets more practice reps after two-a-days end later this week.
“Typically that's the way it happens because there are not enough reps available,” Heupel said. “But you try to find ways to develop all those guys, pre-practice, post-practice and in meetings.”
EMPHASIZING KICKOFF COVERAGE
OU ranked 65th nationally in kickoff yardage allowed last season. The Sooners were burned for touchdown kickoff returns against Missouri, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and Connecticut.
Has kickoff coverage been emphasized more?
“We have. But we've always worked it a lot,” said coach Bob Stoops. “At the end of the day, there's always instances where someone's right there to make a tackle and doesn't make it. You can't make the tackle for him.
“Sometimes it's guys and their ability to tackle or willingness to tackle. Other times it's just getting them in the right spaces. We have worked it more. But I can't say we didn't work it a year ago. We just didn't do it very well.”
JONES' UNIQUE VOCABULARY
Center Ben Habern and quarterback Landry Jones have off-color humor rarely seen in media sessions.
“If I could only take a camera and show you what they're like behind the scenes,” said guard Gabe Ikard. “Those two guys are the goofiest guys I've ever met in my life. Those guys crack me up.”
“He has his own vocabulary,” Ikard said. “Landry came up with ‘chee.' It's like your way of being. ‘Hey man you're messing with my chee.' Whatever that means.”
Ikard said Habern is a quiet leader, a team captain, but has a unique personality.
“That dude comes up with more trends than anybody I know,” Ikard said. “He makes up words. He made up a Subway sandwich the other day that has eight different kinds of meat. He called it deluctable, a new kind of delicious.”
FRIENDLY HOMETOWN RIBBING
Fullback Trey Millard is from Columbia, Mo. Many of his high school buddies attend Missouri. When he returned home for a couple weeks this summer, they reminded him the Tigers beat the Sooners 36-27.
“I wear the (Big 12 title) ring a lot when I go back home,” Millard said.
OU RANKED NO. 1 BY ESPN
It was released weeks ago that the Sooners were ESPN's preseason No. 1 choice. In the current ESPN the Magazine college football preview issue, one odd tidbit is oddsmakers predict whether top 20 teams will beat the over/under win total.
Will OU win 10 regular season games? Paul Stone said, “Yes.”
“Befitting the nation's No. 1 team, the Sooners should be favored in all 12 games,” Stone said. “They get the Big 12's second-best team, Texas A&M, in Norman, where they've lost only twice in 63 outings. OU's stiffest test is at Florida State, and the Sooners are coming off a bye week.”