John Klein: Talented QBs may be waiting in the wings at OSU, OU and TU
BY JOHN KLEIN Senior Sports Columnist
Thursday, April 26, 2012
4/26/12 at 6:33 AM
Go to John Klein's Blog Original Print Headline: Talented QBs may be waiting in the wings
Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden is expected to be taken early in the NFL draft on Thursday night.
Three years ago he was the third-team quarterback. It took a freak injury to the starter and a horrible first half by the backup for Weeden to get a chance.
Just like Landry Jones at Oklahoma, who also made the most of his chance when he was called upon after an injury to the starter, Weeden took off with his opportunity to become one of the nation's best quarterbacks.
Weeden, in this year's NFL draft, and Jones, in next year's draft, are two examples of why you should pay attention to the quarterback derbies that just finished this spring at OU, OSU and Tulsa.
The guy who earns the No. 2 spot on the quarterback depth chart just might turn out to be Jones, who many believe will be a top 10 pick in next year's NFL draft.
The third-team quarterback, perhaps Dane Evans at Tulsa or even Kendal Thompson at OU, could turn out to be the next Weeden.
Tulsa named a starter, Nebraska transfer Cody Green, the week following the spring game.
Oklahoma State was expected to name a starter sometime this week after its three-way battle to find a starting quarterback.
J.W. Walsh, Clint Chelf and Wes Lunt waged a tight fight to be the starter for the Cowboys next fall.
Meanwhile, OU's big spring battle was to find a backup for Jones.
OU said the battle for the backup is too close to call at this point.
It appears the battle to be OSU's starter has been similarly tight.
Here's what we know. OSU coach Mike Gundy and all of the offensive assistants are saying it was very close, almost too close to call, between all three.
That can be good or bad. If all three were pretty good, then it means there is help if an injury or poor play brings about a change next fall.
In fact, the closeness of the quarterback derbies at all three schools would indicate there is plenty of quarterback talent available in the state.
Jones may be the only established quarterback in the state, but there appears to be a handful of others capable of playing at a high level.
Gundy believes all three of his possibilities are capable of playing and winning in the Big 12 Conference.
If true, the Cowboys will have the luxury that if needed there is help down the depth chart at quarterback.
The last time OSU needed help at quarterback, it had to look pretty far down the depth chart.
OSU quarterback Zac Robinson got hurt at the end of a victory over Texas Tech in 2009. So, the next week OSU needed to play a second quarterback. Alex Cate started against lightly regarded Colorado and had a horrible first half.
In came Weeden, third on the depth chart, to rally the Cowboys to a victory over Colorado and keep OSU in the chase for a BCS game right up until the final game of the regular season.
Weeden, who was on the third team because Gundy thought Weeden had sloppy practice habits, took off in spring practice two years ago.
All he did the past two years was go 23-3, win the Big 12, win the Fiesta Bowl and put himself in a position to be a first-round draft pick on Thursday night.
Oklahoma's Jones is the only returning starter among the state's three major college football teams for next fall. He is being mentioned as a possible all-conference/All-American caliber player.
Yet, until Sam Bradford was injured in the season opener against BYU four years ago, Jones had done nothing more than win the No. 2 spot on the depth chart during spring practice.
The race to be Jones' backup provided the biggest story of the spring at Oklahoma, a story that still has no answer.
OU coach Bob Stoops said he had no timetable to name a backup quarterback. Blake Bell, Drew Allen and Kendal Thompson all had solid spring games. All three had their moments during the spring and it is believed the race between the top two, believed to be Bell and Allen, was too close to call.
That quarterback race might go to the fall.
Cody Green won a tight fight with Kalen Henderson to be the Tulsa starter. Tulsa coach Bill Blankenship named Green the starter after spring practice concluded.
However, he said the closeness of the decision between Green and Henderson gives him a certain amount of comfort about TU's quarterback situation.
That is likely the same feeling in Norman and Stillwater.
The high level of play at quarterback this spring, all the way down to even the No. 4 guy in Norman, gives hope that regardless of what happens, all three schools are prepared.
The depth chart may not be all that important at some spots on a football field.
However, Weeden and Jones prove your future may be somewhere below the top line on the depth chart at quarterback.