The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

November 18, 2013

Stoops keeping quiet about QB

NORMAN, Okla. —  Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops likes to keep things close to the vest, routinely declining to speak about his starting quarterback.

So it was no surprise Stoops didn’t want to name who will be under center on Saturday when the No. 22 Sooners (8-2, 5-2 Big 12 Conference) take on Kansas State (6-4, 4-3).

“No need in presenting that,” Stoops said. “Why would I give that? The quarterback issue, it does no possible good to define all of that today or Friday. We will just go into the game and hopefully have all of them ready.”

Coming out of a 48-10 win over Iowa State, the Sooners saw backups Trevor Knight and Kendal Thompson play against the Cyclones after starter Blake Bell was injured early in the second quarter.  Running primarily the read-option offense, Knight took over and led the offense on five scoring drives. That included the redshirt freshman reeling off a 56-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Knight finished the day 8-for-14 passing for 61 yards, also rushing for 123 yards.

“Obviously Trevor being a little bit more mobile than Blake, he does a great job of making people miss,” senior tailback Brennan Clay said. “He made some great reads. He was just able to be more comfortable in the pocket. He came in and did a great job. He prepared throughout the week.”

When Knight’s day was done, Thompson was called into service and got his first action of his career in the fourth quarter.  On Thompson’s first drive, the redshirt led the Sooners on an eight-play, 90-yard drive that saw him throw a three-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Ripkowski.

Throughout the past few weeks, fans and media have been asking when Thompson, the son of former Oklahoma quarterback Charles Thompson, would get his turn.

“It’s not that he’s not in the mix,” Stoops said. “It’s just that we’re not going to just go and try him out and see how it goes. You just don’t do that”

Now that Thompson, who was injured in the preseason, has finally shown what he can do, fans are hoping to see more from him in the team’s final two games.

“He’s been doing a great job,” Stoops said. “We’ve been comfortable and felt Kendal, when he has his opportunity, will handle it well, and he went in there and did it, to no surprise to us. We felt he’s a talented guy. He’s got confidence. He went in there and did a nice job.”

With the success of Knight and Thompson and the inconsistency of Bell, Stoops was asked if the quarterback competition was back open during practice this week.

“There is a competition every week,” Stoops said. “Certainly there will be competition.”

Regardless of who starts the game or is taking snaps, the rest of the Sooners are saying publicly they have confidence in all three.

“I will be comfortable to whoever is going to hand the ball off to me,” Clay said. “Whoever is going to come in is going to be fine. They all prepare throughout the week and do a great job.’’

 Coach (Josh) Heupel does a great job of getting them right. I feel confident with whoever is in there.”

Oklahoma heads into its game against the Wildcats feeling better about its quarterback position than how it felt coming out of its loss to Baylor. If Bell is able to play this week, Stoops and his coaches have three players to choose from who have shown they can run the offense in different ways.

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