Allen Stamps Backup Role

NORMAN, Okla. -- Sooner fans remember all too well two seasons ago when Heisman quarterback Sam Bradford was crushed in the season opener against BYU, suffering a third degree AC sprain in his right shoulder and ultimately sending him to the sidelines for his final season, forcing Landry Jones to take over the helm.

And with every year that goes by, the OU backup becomes even more and more prepared.

This time it's Drew Allen, who solidified his role as the clear cut reserve to Jones by throwing for 179 yards and completing 16-of-29 passes, including a touchdown but one interception.

"I was ready, I mean, just like the backup position," Allen said. "You learn from it, and the season that I've had, the past season, you've got to always be ready...I mean, I've got to be. I've got to be capable. I mean, I've got to think like that. Yes, I believe I can do that."

If Saturday was any indication, that's certainly the truth.

"Drew, I thought, was impressive for sure in that first half and did a lot of really nice things," said OU head coach Bob Stoops.

Allen fired that 16-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver DeJuan Miller.

He was poised in the pocket.

He went through his progressions more efficiently than a year ago.

And he just flat out looked better.

So, what's the difference?

"It's a huge difference as far as mastering the offense that we run and everything else," Allen said. "It's just I feel like a huge difference in my confidence, within my teammates and just camaraderie and everything like that, just everything builds together."

That tends to happen when a player's been in the system for another full year.

"I probably wouldn't be as confident going out there a year ago definitely because I've gotten so much more work in," Allen said. "But I feel like this time I could go out and just definitely compete and take [over] if he goes down."

Sooner fans hope they don't have to see that chapter again in the 2011 season.

But at least he's a reliable option, as proven by his performance.

"Just being comfortable overall [was the main thing]," Allen said. "I don't really, I mean, reads have been pretty good for the most part. And just understanding the offense. Coach Heupel's been really good getting with me and just he's a really great coach in how he runs the offense and how he gets us to understand it, so and learn from Landry in a lot of things and how he practices. It's really helped a lot."

And having a backup as competitive as Allen can only help Jones and the rest of the offense, too.

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