Sooners waiting to see how practice pans out to pick a starting QB
by Marq Burnett
mburnett@annistonstar.com
Dec 30, 2013 | 1329 views |  0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley and his teammates on defense are preparing for three different Oklahoma quarterbacks. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley and his teammates on defense are preparing for three different Oklahoma quarterbacks. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
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NEW ORLEANS -- Oklahoma co-offensive coordinator Josh Heupel says waiting to name a starter for the Sugar Bowl isn’t a ploy to keep Alabama guessing.

Junior Blake Bell and redshirt freshman Trevor Knight are in the running, and the Sooners are holding off on selecting a starter to keep both players motivated.

“We’ve been this way throughout the entire year. ... Our kids continue to push and find out who is going to practice the best, that typically tells you who is going to play the best,” Heupel said during his Monday news conference. “So when we get towards the end of the week that’s when we’ll know who our guy’s going to be.”

Still, Crimson Tide defensive coordinator Kirby Smart is making sure his unit is prepared for whatever or whomever the Sooners throw at them.

“Anytime you prepare for an offense, you have to be ready for the backup,” Smart said. “With these guys, you really have three guys that have played. We’ve had to prepare for three quarterbacks.”

Bell and Knight are the only two players that have start, but sophomore Kendal Thompson has played in two games this season. Bell started eight of the 12 regular-season games with Knight leading the way in the other four.

Bell has thrown for 1,648 yards and 12 touchdowns with five interceptions while completing 60.4 percent of his passes. It was Bell who tossed the game-winning touchdown to wide receiver Jalen Saunders against Oklahoma State that clinched an at-large BCS bowl bid for the Sooners.

Knight, who is recovering from a shoulder injury suffered against Oklahoma State, has accounted for 909 yards in total offense and seven touchdowns.

“The have all prepared well,” Heupel said. “We’re excited about the group we’ve got, the way they’ve competed, the way they’ve pushed each other, and then ultimately whoever is the guy needs to go out and perform well here in a couple of days to give ourselves a chance to win.”

Smart said the Tide is prepared for which quarterback is in and that the players will have to recognize who is in the game.

“We’ve had enough time because of the amount of time between the games that you can prepare for both,” Smart said. “The time allows us to have a plan for both guys. You’ll find out during the game which one’s playing better. They’ll have one in there probably more than the other, depending on how they’re playing.”
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