Stoops talks spring football
BY ERIC BAILEY World Sports Writer
Thursday, March 07, 2013
3/07/13 at 10:01 PM
NORMAN — Bob Stoops will oversee his 15th year of spring football drills when Oklahoma begins work on Saturday.
There are many questions entering the practices. Who will be OU’s next quarterback? How will the Sooners become acclimated with three new coaches? Will Oklahoma’s defense improve after last year’s disappointing finish?
A few highlights:
The quarterback race begins as a three-man race between Blake Bell, Trevor Knight and Kendal Thompson.
It appears a starter won’t be named soon in a competition that likely will bleed into fall camp.
“There comes a time when somebody’s got to start and be ready for it and I think most of our battles have continued through the summer and through two-a-days for good reason in our minds anyway,” Stoops said. “We want to see the continued competition. We may, in our mind, know who has the edge in our eyes, but let’s see if he had a good summer. Let’s see if someone didn’t come back and improved more than he did in the summer and overtakes him.
“We want to see that competition work through in the summer and into two-a-days and I would imagine, I would anticipate that being the same thing.”
Stoops didn’t want to discuss the reasoning behind Oklahoma’s recent coaching changes.
“I don’t need to discuss those,” Stoops said. “Those are private conversations with myself and those coaches in our program.”
OU’s staff restructuring introduced three new coaches: Bill Bedenbaugh (offensive line), Jay Boulware (special teams coordinator, tight ends) and Jerry Montgomery (defensive line).
The trio replaced Bruce Kittle, James Patton and Jackie Shipp.
Was Stoops’ top priority in the new coaches the ability to recruit?
“That’s always part of the equation, but these guys do have strong backgrounds on the field in coaching and in recruiting,” the OU coach said.
The word “experiment” was used more than once by Stoops when describing the Sooners’ defensive line.
It’s been rumored that the team may shift to a three-man front with linebackers on the edge.
“There’s been a lot talked about going to a 50 front,” Stoops said. “That’s something we have done in the past and it’s something we’ll do some in the spring, but we won’t do it solely. We’ll still be in our four-man front as well and we’ll work some different guys in the rotation there inside.
“We’ll also experiment because I think it’s a positive to be able to jump into a 50 and do some of that stuff like we had in the past.”
Stoops didn’t target specific personnel but said some defensive ends may be shifted to the line’s interior during spring drills.
“We’ve got some of those other defensive ends that have beefed up now and some are 260, 265 and we have some other bigger guys we can rotate in there,” Stoops said. “That’s something we’re going to experiment with when we start practicing.”
Odds and ends: As reported earlier, Oklahoma’s game at Baylor has been moved up two days to Thursday, Nov. 7. The game will be on either ESPN or FOX ...
Mike Stoops will concentrate on safeties while veteran assistant Bobby Jack Wright will handle cornerbacks ...
A number of Oklahoma players will wear new numbers this spring: Lacoltan Bester (No. 11), Austin Brown (81), Chase Buck (87), Durron Neal (5), Zack Sanchez (15), Jalen Saunders (8), Eric Striker (19) and Kendal Thompson (1). Newcomers Jed Barnett (44) and Dannon Cavil (6) were also issued numbers ...
Linebacker D.J. Ward, an early enrollee from Southmoore, still hasn’t passed through the NCAA Clearinghouse ...
OL Tyler Evans (ACL) has been cleared for the spring; OL Nila Kasitati (ACL) is out; TE Taylor McNamara (shoulder) will miss week one, but should be back after spring break; Aaron Ripkowski (wrist) will miss spring; OL Adam Shead (back) and Bronson Irwin (back) will practice.
Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops gestures as he answers a question during an NCAA college football news conference Thursday in Norman. After a rare overhaul in his coaching staff this offseason, spring football practice begins this weekend. SUE OGROCKI/AP Photo