Stoops discusses QB decision

Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops talks about his reasons for listing Jason White No. 1 on the quarterback depth chart.

NORMAN, Okla. — OU Head Football Coach Bob Stoops announced a quarterback depth chart on Thursday, which will stand until the Sooners go into two a-day workouts. It was no surprise that Stoops named senior Jason White as the No. 1 quarterback, but he surprised many when he named sophomore Paul Thompson as the No. 2, redshirt freshman Noah Allen No. 3 and sophomore Brent Rawls at No. 4.

Who is where on the depth chart has brought tremendous conversation on message boards and on the radio talk shows over the last 24 hours. OUInsider.com talked with OU's head man on Friday to get his thoughts on the decision.

JH: Bob, you usually don't release depth charts in the summer. So why did you release a quarterback depth chart in June?

BS: "Each year is different. Other years coming into double sessions we really did not know where we were at in terms of a depth chart, or how we would start our fall practices. This year we do feel strongly that this is the way we will enter the camp. Where it goes from there will depend on practice and scrimmages.

"There is a lot of time between the start of camp and our first game, and who knows what will happen. In the end, since we felt that we do know this is how we are going to enter our two-a-day camp, we felt that we should go ahead and get it out there and let all of the discussion and talk about it get over with. Now the focus can now be on the football team when we do start in the fall and not just on the quarterbacks.

"I felt that was good reasoning, because our team is strong and we have a great group of players who are excellent and a strong team all together. So, lets talk about the them when the fall comes around. Let's get all this out of the way in a period of time when there is no much going on."

JH: Why did you rank the quarterbacks the way you did?

BS: "I don't critique each guy, and that is just not something I am going to do. In general terms, through spring practice, and all of our winter work, we get to interact with each of our players every day. This is where we see it with all the work that has been done to this point for a lot of reasons.

"I think what hasn't been talked about enough is the great leadership and play of a Jason White and the great work and leadership exhibited by a young guy in Paul Thompson in the one and two spots. Those guys are the one's who have earned their way into those positions, and who we feel give us the best opportunity to win at this point coming into camp. That is a testament more to the way they have worked, and what their abilities are more than to anything else."

JH: I had a chance to see Jason White on Thursday and he looks much bigger and stronger. Paul Thompson also looks like a linebacker. You have to be very impressed with their off-season work aren't you?

BS: "They are great leaders and they have the respect of our team with the way they work and the way they went through the winter and spring. What they have accomplished up to this point is very impressive, and it warrants being in that position.

"We feel good about the way we are coming into camp, but again there is a lot of time between the beginning of double sessions and the first game. All of these guys, including Noah and Brent, are capable guys who, in the end you can win with. It is just that at the start of camp we have to establish who is getting snaps where and this is how we will start. Then we will see how things progress through camp."

JH: Are you 100 percent that Jason is going to be 100 percent healthy for the fall?

BS: "We do, because at this point he is training well and everything appears — listening to the trainers and our medical people — that he is progressing just fine and looks good. Hopefully that will remain the case."

JH: You have always stated that your depth chart can change everyday, so I wouldn't think this quarterback depth chart would be any different?

BS: "They do change and they always will, and that is at every position not just quarterback. The quarterback position is no different, and that is why we have not had a controversy at that position. Each guy earns it on the field and that is how it is at this point. Again, we will see where it leads, but our team will have confidence with whoever is in there."

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