Player in Focus: Cody Thomas

Freshman QB will make his first career start against Texas Tech

Cody Thomas isn’t exactly the quarterback that Oklahoma fans want to see on the field Saturday.

If the Sooners’ faithful had their way, Baker Mayfield would return to his former home and lead an Oklahoma victory against Texas Tech.

Instead, it’s Thomas who will be called upon to try and help Oklahoma bounce back from an embarrassing loss to Baylor, during which starting quarterback Trevor Knight suffered an injury and had to be carted off the field.

Knight, a redshirt sophomore who has started all nine games this season, was ruled out of Saturday’s game on Thursday even after Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said all his X-rays and MRIs had come back “clean.” Knight was still very sore after suffering what appeared to be a head or neck injury late in last Saturday’s loss.

In steps Thomas. He might not be the exact quarterback Oklahoma fans want, but he’s the one that Stoops trusts – and is actually eligible.

“Cody has done a really good job,” Stoops said. “Whenever he has been there he’s been in and ready to play. He’s prepared and ready to play. The times he’s gotten in, he’s ready to play. We’ll feel good about it. He’ll get the bulk of the work. . . . We’ll be excited about watching him.”

Tight end and former quarterback Blake Bell will be the Sooners’ back-up quarterback should anything happen to Thomas, who took all the first team snaps in practice this week with Knight sidelined.

Thomas has completed just seven of his 16 pass attempts for 50 yards and a touchdown in very limited action this season. He played for one series against Kansas State and in mop-up duty sparingly throughout the year.

He has had both good and bad.

Thomas led Oklahoma on a scoring drive against Kansas State, grabbing a bad snap and rushing for a first down on one play, but he also struggled against Iowa State when he was called upon with the game out of reach.

Thomas brings something a little different than Knight, although his teammates joked when they said both can “throw the ball hard.” Thomas isn’t as mobile as Knight but still has a little athleticism and a little wiggle.

He has proven that he is more accurate than Knight, with an arm honed on the baseball field as well.

No matter what he has done, his offensive line believes in him.

“The dude’s looked really good with his chances out there,” left tackle Tyrus Thompson said. “I have full confidence in him. I think he’s a great quarterback.” Thompson even implied that the quarterback situation could get a bit “tricky” next year.

One moment sticks out in Thompson’s mind regarding the man he’ll have to protect Saturday. When Thomas came out for his series against Kansas State, Thompson walked over to him, planning on calming down the redshirt freshman who was about to play in his first meaningful minutes as a college quarterback.

Thompson didn’t have to do anything. The focus in Thomas’ stare even got the big left tackle a bit gitty.

“He was ready for it,” Thompson said. “You could see it in his eyes.”

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