, Muskogee, OK


August 5, 2013

COLUMN: Plenty of unsolved mysteries at Camp Sooner

NORMAN — Those hoping to get a fresh batch of new news from Oklahoma football media day have to be a little disappointed.

Though Kendal Thompson broke his foot the first day of practice, head coach Bob Stoops still was insisting Saturday that the starting quarterback job remains a race that could be won by Blake Bell or Trevor Knight.

Stoops said he feels no pressure to name his starter before he has one and, frankly, he doesn’t have one. But he also said, at least once in the past, the coaches knew who the quarterback would be, yet held the decision for an additional week.

Offensive co-coordinator Josh Heupel said that won’t be the case this time around.

“When a guy earns the job,” he said, “(we’ll) announce it.”

Otherwise, media day was a little bit about a lot of things:

• Both Bob Stoops and defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said true freshmen linebackers Jordan Evans, from Norman North, and Dominique Taylor, from Tulsa Washington, have looked terrific thus far in practice and could have a role on this season’s team.

• Though Bob Stoops said during Big 12 media days that his offense might explore downshifting the tempo it’s played with in the recent past, Heupel made a much more declarative statement in his turn with the media.

“We’re going to push the envelope,” he said, “and see at what tempo our players are capable of playing.”

• Mike Stoops had some interesting comments about what good defense looks like in the modern Big 12. Anyway, he said, it’s not what it used to look like.

“Holding people to 17 or 10 points in this league,” he said, “that’s just not realistic.”

What you can’t have happen, he said, is the other team running up and down the field on you the whole game.

Also …

“We’d love to dominate,” Mike Stoops said. “(But) that’s out the window.”

• Heupel said the offense is prepared to use four different ball carriers regularly: Damien Williams, Brennan Clay, Roy Finch and fullback Trey Millard.

Additonally, he said Finch has continued to be exemplary, on and off the field, as he had been during spring drills. Prior to last spring, Finch did not earn the same accolades.

However it works, “We want to be above five yards per carry,” Heupel said.

• LB Corey Nelson offered a statement that might be considered a bedrock for OU this season: “I know what me and my teammates can do and what we’re capable of.”

For all the question marks heading into Bob Stoops’ 15th season at the Sooner helm, those who want to believe in endless possibilities can take comfort in Nelson’s words.

It’s Sooner football and there are good players everywhere. Who knows what might happen?

Pretty soon, we’ll all begin finding out.

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