Oklahoma QB job up for grabs heading into spring
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops is in no hurry to name a starting quarterback.
The Sooners are coming off an 8-5 season that ended with a 40-6 loss to Clemson in the Russell Athletic Bowl.
The Sooners will choose among three quarterbacks with starting experience. Stoops said Thursday it will be an open competition when spring practice starts Saturday, and he won't have a problem with the race going past the April 11 Spring Game.
Trevor Knight, the returning starter, was inconsistent last season. Baker Mayfield is eligible after transferring from Texas Tech and sitting out last season. Cody Thomas, who started while Knight was injured, also is back. Redshirt freshman Justice Hansen will get a look.
''I always feel competition through the summer and leading up to the season continues to push guys,'' Stoops said Thursday. ''As Coach (John) Wooden always said, `Competition is a coach's friend.'''
Knight blistered Alabama in the Sugar Bowl after the 2013 season, leading to high hopes for the Sooners and a No. 4 preseason ranking. Knight missed three games with a neck injury and struggled when he returned against Clemson.
They all have to adjust to a new system. The Sooners hired East Carolina offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley and he plans to bring back the Air Raid offense that helped Oklahoma return to national prominence early in Stoops' 17-year run as coach.
Knight started last season strong, but his downward spiral started with some critical mistakes late in loss to TCU. He struggled against Baylor before being injured and sitting out the next three games. He returned for the bowl game against Clemson and completed 13 of 37 passes for 103 yards with three interceptions.
He has started 15 games at Oklahoma, with career totals of 3,119 yards passing and 784 rushing.
Mayfield passed for 2,315 yards and 12 touchdowns at Texas Tech in 2013, started seven games and was the Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year. He transferred, then dominated Oklahoma's spring game. He was named Oklahoma's Scout Team Offensive Player of the Year. Stoops looks forward to seeing how Mayfield progresses.
''I'm looking forward to it,'' Stoops said. ''I watched him go win the Scout Team Player of the Week about every week against the defense. He works hard and has experience, so it will be exciting to see.''
Thomas, a sophomore, had his best game against Texas Tech last year. He completed 10 of 20 passes for 133 yards and a touchdown and ran eight times for 103 yards in a win over Texas Tech. He quit the baseball team, which Stoops said could help him compete for the job.
''Probably, just that this is all that he's thinking about,'' Stoops said. ''I would guess so. Even though you're limited in how many times you're on the field, that position - there's a lot to think about. In the end, that was his decision.''
Stoops said Hansen also would have a shot.
''He's a guy that works hard,'' Stoops said. ''He has big strong frame. He athletic and can pull it and run it. He'll have more opportunity now. We'll see what he's able to do.''
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