Originally posted on Crystal Ball Run  |  Last updated 4/10/13
CBR's tour around spring camps looking at some of the biggest position battles continues with a trip to Oklahoma, where the Sooners are looking for the next passer to keep their offensive machine rolling. Background Since Bob Stoops arrived at Oklahoma, prolific passers under center have become a given. None of them took more snaps for the Sooners than Landry Jones, who threw for the third-most career passing yards in NCAA history in his four years as starting quarterback. Jones had a penchant for mind-boggling mistakes. His career at OU is destined to be remembered by fans for his shortcomings more so than his accomplishments. In the end, though, Jones was about as productive as could be asked of him, and he won plenty of games.   With the ‘Stache now moving on to a career in physical comedy, it leaves an opening at quarterback for the first time 2007. That QB derby saw Sam Bradford emerge victorious by fall camp. Stoops will likely take a similar outcome this time around. Who’s leaving? Landry Jones (2012): 367-555 attempts (66.1%), 4,267 yards (7.7 YPA), 30 TDs, 11 INTs, 144.6 rating Who’s filling the void? Blake Bell, redshirt junior (2012): 9-16 attempts (56.3%), 107 yards (6.7 YPA), 0 TDs, 0 INTs; 60 rushes, 201 yards (3.4 YPA), 11 TDs Kendal Thompson, redshirt sophomore (2012): N/A Trevor Knight, redshirt freshman (2012): N/A What has happened this spring? Having grown accustomed to the ways of Stoops in the course of the last 14 years, those both inside and outside the OU program made Bell the heavy betting favorite to win the job based on his experience. The fiery Kansan gained notoriety on the national scene for the success of the Belldozer short-yardage package. The coaching staff didn’t recruit Bell in the hopes that they would be getting the next Tim Tebow, though. He was brought in as a classic pocket passer, and even while pulling the novelty act of running out of power sets, Bell beat out upperclassman Drew Allen last season for the back-up gig. OU closed practices this spring, making it difficult to say if Bell remains the frontrunner. The talk coming from offensive coordinators Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell indicate that he has yet to put a stranglehold on the job. In fact, to hear the coaches tell it, he’s running roughly even with Knight and Thompson. Much like Bell, the two underclassmen offer more of a running threat than their predecessor. Yet, if you’ve seen Jones run, you understand that’s not saying much. So, let’s amplify that statement: All three candidates run well enough to put the quarterback running game in play this fall. Thompson, the son of former OU signal caller Charles Thompson, is the most elusive and explosive runner in the group. Knight may be the most polished passer and earned high praise for his play while emulating Johnny Manziel during preparation for the Cotton Bowl. (Lots of good that did.) What to expect heading into the fall? Maybe the biggest test yet for the quarterback candidates comes this Saturday at the annual Red-White Game. It will offer the viewing public their first looks at Thompson and Knight, in particular. How the snaps get spread around Saturday could offer some insight into the pecking order as OU breaks for the summer. Bell still sounds like the smart bet. He has the mobility Stoops wants as the Sooners overhaul their offense. His mettle has been tested in big spots running the Belldozer, which means he should have the trust of the coaching staff, too. Don't count out Thompson, though. The third-year sophomore poses the biggest threat of the three to do some damage with his legs. If the Sooners really throw themselves into a read option offensive scheme, Thompson might be the most effective trigger man.
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