Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops addressed the media during the final segment of Big 12 Media Days. Unlike his shots fired at the SEC earlier this offseason, Stoops was less aggressive and also careful not to give the media anything to run with.
Like when he tried to address the quarterback situation, Stoops made sure to leave an open competition on the table. He was actually aggravated when the first comment led to believe that redshirt-junior Blake Bell had already earned the starting job, according to Eric Bailey of Tulsa World:
You’re kind of making assumptions as you feel he is the guy right now, said Stoops, answering a question stated Bell as the heir apparent.
We’ve got a number of guys in there in competition with him that are doing really well, Kendal Thompson and Trevor Knight to go along with Blake Bell. We’ve never been real excited about naming a guy too early. So they’re working hard as well.
There is no bigger question mark heading into the season for Oklahoma than quarterback. Yes, it's even bigger than the defense that allowed nearly 400 yards a game and surrendered 41 points in a loss to Texas A&M in the AT&T Cotton Bowl.
The Big 12 has become a quarterback's conference, and a team simply isn't going to have much success if it can't throw the ball. An Oklahoma quarterback has topped 4,000 passing yards in four of the last five seasons and the position has taken on a life of its own.
This season there are concerns that the program hasn't dealt with in a while. When Jason White left, Sam Bradford took over. Landry Jones then replaced the first overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft. Replacing Jones, well...
The competition will be decided by Bell, redshirt-sophomore Kendal Thompson and redshirt-freshman Trevor Knight. Stoops admitted that all three struggled at times during spring football and, regardless of who wins the starting job, the others will likely see the field, per Chip Brown of Rivals and Jake Trotter of ESPN:
Bob Stoops said he hasn't picked a QB yet between Blake Bell, Trevor Knight and Kendall Thompson, adding all had "Uh oh moments" in spring.— Chip Brown (@ChipBrownOB) July 23, 2013
Stoops said there could be packages for Kendal Thompson (or Knight), similar to the way OU has used Blake Bell in the past.— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) July 23, 2013
Who willbe the starting QB?
Despite what Stoops may say, Bell is the front-runner to win the starting job. He's the most experienced option and has the overwhelming dual-threat ability that is difficult to ignore. He may not be as polished throwing as other Oklahoma quarterbacks who came before him, but he does give the Sooners the best chance to win this season.
A popular discussion during Big 12 Media Days involved rule changes. The NCAA recently implemented the "target rule" that is designed for player safety. The rule is hoping to remove illegal hits above the shoulders to "defenseless" players and could lead to an automatic ejection for the defender if the officials believe the hit was intentional.
Bob Stoops says he is "probably" confused about new targeting rules. "Hopefully they're getting it right," Stoops said.— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) July 23, 2013
Is Stoops as confused as us on the new targeting rule? "Probably," he said. Will have officials come talk to his team during fall camp.— David Ubben (@davidubben) July 23, 2013
What happens if a ball carrier ducks his head? How will the officials know if a hit is intentional or not? There are many questions that need to be answered and there doesn't seem to be a perfect answer.
Pressure on officials will also be greater than ever, and they are in a lose-lose situation with this rule in effect:
Replay can overturn a targeting ejection that was in error, but the penalty will stand.— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) July 23, 2013
College football may have opened a bigger can of worms than expected.
The highlight of media day for coach Stoops came on the last question of the press conference. He decided to do a little recruiting for a cosmetic store, per Kirk Bohls of Austin American-Statesman:
Stoops urges writers to "get their wives into" Mary Kay. His wife is a national sales director. "I'm recruiting."— kbohls (@kbohls) July 23, 2013
Media days were held in Dallas, which is the same location Mary Kay is having a convention. It isn't known just yet how his players and fellow coaches will respond to this, but hey, if it makes the wife happy, that's all that matters.