McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Sports

August 30, 2013

Oklahoma, ready for Saturday

McALESTER — In a sense, Oklahoma has been waiting for Saturday’s season opener for several years. Years ago, the coaching staff made the decision that quarterback mobility was going to be a factor in recruiting.

The ability to tuck the ball and run is a trait Blake Bell (2010), Kendal Thompson (2011), Trevor Knight (2012) and Cody Thomas (2013) all shared.

Bell’s shown the positive effect being able to block with 10 instead of nine can have in the Belldozer package the last two seasons. However, it’s Knight who gets to display the full ramifications when gets the start Saturday night when the season begins against Louisiana-Monroe at Owen Field.

So why the pull the trigger now?

“We’ve just been fortunate to find guys that we like how they throw so well, and they happen to be able to run, too,” OU coach Bob Stoops said. “We wouldn’t take any of them looking at their legs first. You know, it’s all about being able to throw the ball and pass the ball first, as we look at anybody, and then, hey, if there’s two of them awfully close, maybe this guy runs a little better than another guy, whatever. There are different reasons that you look for.”

The Sooners have witnessed what a weapon it can be for years. OU lost four of five to Texas from 2005-09. One of the major reasons for those losses was the Longhorns had quarterbacks — Vince Young (2005) and Colt McCoy (2006-09) — who could get out of the pocket and stretch defenses. They could turn busted plays into positive gains.

The emphatic stamp Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel put on his Heisman Trophy season was running wild against the Sooners in the AT T Cotton Bowl Classic.

“It’s kind of how the game’s evolving now with a mobile quarterback. The game’s changing a little bit,” OU center Gabe Ikard said.

But OU’s waited until now  to make its shift because one quarterback is not enough. The goal for any team is to have multiple quarterbacks who can run the same offense. For continuity’s sake, it’s the easiest and most effective way to craft an offense.

Employing quarterbacks in the running game makes it an imperative. The chance of injury increases every time a quarterback lowers his shoulder and every time he hits the turf.

Knight may get the start tonight, but OU’s thoroughly convinced Bell can run the same offense.

In that sense, it might strongly resemble the offense mobility-challenged Landry Jones ran for the last four years. Offensive coordinator Josh Heupel says the only difference he’s expecting is a quarterback who can elude pressure in the pocket and take off when nothing is open down field.

“Extend plays” is a phrase he used repeatedly.

Stoops believes OU Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Sam Bradford had the ability to give OU the option years earlier, but that was met with a tepid response in the coaches’ office. Bradford’s arm was good enough. No sense putting it a risk.

“We just chose not to, you know, to read it and pull it with him because of all the other things he did so well,” Stoops said. “But I think it’s always been our philosophy that as long as he can throw and make the throws we want, the better legs, the better.”

The Sooners have built a cupboard of mobile quarterbacks. Now they get to reap the benefits from it.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • Media days hot topic, 'Final Four'

    Never have the words “Final Four” been used so often at a football media gathering.

    July 22, 2014

  • 20110929_bowling.jpg Why fewer people go bowling

    Like other industries facing tough economic times, America's bowling centers are trying to reinvent themselves.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Square logo.jpg King James of Akron returns to his Cleveland Kingdom

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Why North Korean cheerleaders may soon descend on the South

    When you think of North Korea, "cheerleaders" may not be the first thing that springs to mind. The Hermit Kingdom is perhaps better known for less savory things like gulag-like labor camps and leadership purges.

    July 9, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg U.S. loss on World Cup pitch was a win back home

    Exuberant fans - even those who couldn't tell you what offsides means - cheered on the U.S. men's national team during the World Cup in Brazil. Are those fans excited enough to keep watching soccer now that the United States has been eliminated?

    July 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Baseball should reinstate Pete Rose

    There's no question that Pete Rose's credentials as a player qualify him for baseball's Hall of Fame. Now, 25 years after he was banished for gambling on games, Charlie Hustle should be allowed back in baseball, presumably to take his place in Cooperstown.

    June 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • 1065.jpg The end of 'Redskins?' Social media reacts to trademark cancellation

    The United States Patent and Trademark Office has canceled the trademarks of the Washington Redskins on the basis that it is "disparaging to Native Americans.” Reaction to the decision was, predictably, divided and intense. Here is a sampling from Twitter and YouTube.

    June 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mexican drug lord arrested at World Cup

    Jose Diaz-Barajas, 49, was arrested at Rio de Janeiro's Tom Jobim airport Monday night as he boarded a plane to Fortaleza, where Mexico played Brazil Tuesday, Luiz Cravo Dorea, head of international cooperation at the Federal Police, said. The world soccer governing body, FIFA, had informed police that Diaz- Barajas, who was accompanied by his wife and two children, held tickets, Dorea said.

    June 20, 2014

  • Donald Sterling needs to go away

    Whether it happens due to a quick settlement or a likely longer trial, Clippers owner Donald Sterling just needs to go away.

    June 19, 2014

  • Kevin Durant Kevin Durant’s grace period will end soon

    After his 7th season ended Saturday with the Thunder’s Game 6 loss to the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals, the grace period for Oklahoma City superstar Kevin Durant may soon be drawing to a close.

    June 3, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Do you agree with the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision?

Yes
No
     View Results
AP Video
Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands
NDN Video
Bill Murray Continues To Be Just Bill Murray By Eating Some Free Bill Murray Ice Cream Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.