PRYOR, OK —
Come this fall, the Oklahoma State Cowboys won't be the only team in Oklahoma with a quarterback quandary.
Down in Norman, the Sooners’ Saturday spring game didn’t do much in the way of answering questions regarding who will take over for Landry Jones under center, but Sooner fans have to at least feel positive about their options.
Cowboy fans were treated (or subjected) to a three-headed monster at quarterback last year, and all three signal-callers proved more than adequate, with each player — Wes Lunt, J.W. Walsh and Clint Chelf — leading the Cowboys to victories.
OU, on the other hand, had nothing but solid quarterback play over the past three years. “Solid” really is the word to describe Landry Jones, who was thrust into the starting role during his freshman year after redshirting when Heisman winner Sam Bradford famously injured his throwing shoulder in the season opener against BYU and later in the year against Texas.
Jones’ legacy will likely improve over the years (he is the all-time winningest Sooner QB) but right now, he is regarded somewhat less kindly.
Jones, despite recording three straight 10-win seasons, failed to lead the Sooners to a national title, which at this point in head coach Bob Stoops’ career is unacceptable to a large portion of OU’s dedicated fanbase. Many fans were calling for a change at quarterback, which they got in part for the last two seasons with the Belldozer goal line package featuring underclassman Blake Bell.
In Saturday's spring game, Bell was one of three quarterbacks showcased and all three featured the main quality that Landry so sorely lacked — the same quality that makes cell phones and Rascal scooters so appealing.
Jones, who often looked like his feet were stuck in the mud, is a stark contrast to the display that Bell and newcomers Kendal Thompson and Trevor Knight put on. Despite the fact that the QB trio were wearing the “don’t touch me!” blue jerseys, that didn’t stop them from using the whole field to make plays.
Projected starter Bell (and after what Thompson did Saturday, “projected” is the only word I feel comfortable using) showed his range, going 14-of-23 for 213 yards with two touchdowns and no turnovers.
Thompson had flashes of brilliance dodging defenders, throwing for 86 yards and a score, and Knight was 11-of-15 for 151 yards.
Bell had the play of the day, though. After a red zone play broke down, Bell rolled to his right ... and kept rolling ... and rolling ... and rolling ... until he was inches from the home sideline when reciever Durron Neal broke open back inside from the near pylon to catch Bell’s first TD pass of the comfortably warm April day.
Bell, Thompson and Knight also showed off their strong arms, as each got several attempts throwing downfield to the likes of Trey Metoyer and Lacoltan Bester. Their success in that department was mixed, but each clearly possesses the tools necessary to win football games.
Sooner offensive coordinator and former OU QB standout Josh Heupel and Stoops agree that there is no question that a spring game definitively answers, and after the strong showings from all three heads of their signal-calling Cerberus they may be no closer to solving the multiple-choice puzzle than their counterparts in Stillwater.
Though they do obviously have a wealth of talent to choose from.