Bob Stoops made the call today that plenty of Sooner fans probably didn’t want to hear:
Bob Stoops said Bell is still the guy at QB moving forward— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) November 11, 2013
Barring a surprising turn events, it looks like Trevor Knight and Kendal Thompson will have to wait until the spring to get another shot. I’ve stumped for Knight all year, but at this point, I think this is the right decision. Let me see if I can break this down from a strategy standpoint.
- The Sooners have three games left to play in the regular season this year: Iowa State on Saturday, at Kansas State next week and at Oklahoma State on the first weekend in December. Presumably, the goal is to determine which quarterback gives OU the best shot to win as many of those three games as possible.
- If you want to have a reasonable conversation about OU’s quarterback situation at the moment, you have to recognize that the Sooners essentially have different offenses based on who’s behind center. The option-heavy Pistol scheme that OU trotted out to start the season isn’t Bell’s bag. Apparently, Knight and Thompson aren’t suited to the Air Raid-like O that the Sooners have run for the last seven games. As such, committing to a starter requires committing to a different style of play. You can’t do one without the other.
- Likewise, opening up a quarterback competition means preparing alternate game plans or some mix of the two different schemes.
- Logistically, a competition presents some major hurdles. You’re asking the entire team to switch course between offenses multiple times in the middle of a game.
- The Knight/Thompson plan means preparing to run the Pistol for the final three games of the season. Those three contests include a road game against a team coached by Bill Snyder and Bedlam in Stillwater where one of the Big 12’s best defenses awaits. When last we saw Knight playing the part of QB 1, he got yanked after committing three ugly turnovers in the friendly confines of Owen Field against a pretty mediocre West Virginia D. Meanwhile, Thompson has yet to get live action.
- Bell has started the last seven games, winning five. He has looked anywhere between “good enough” (Notre Dame, Texas Tech) and “dreadful” (Texas, Baylor).
- There’s one more variable to keep in mind here: team morale. Namely, will the players read a move away from Bell as waving the white flag on 2013? How would key seniors such as Gabe Ikard, Brennan Clay and Aaron Colvin feel about that, and what kind of effort would they give down the stretch?
Change for the sake of change can be better in some cases. Often, it’s just different.
Iowa State looks like a layup, but switching up the offense at this point in the year behind an inexperienced QB would be leading lambs to the slaughter against Purple Kansas and the Pokes.
I certainly think there’s some credence to the idea that Stoops and Josh Heupel have mismanaged OU’s quarterback situation all year. But the time for addressing that is in January. In the interim, the right play is Stoops sticking by Bell and, more importantly, demanding that Heupel come up with a better offensive game plan than what we saw in Waco last week.