Sooners keep it simple in spring game

OU quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Trevor Knight showed signs, but it's obvious the quarterback battle will continue in Norman.

NORMAN, Okla. – If you were looking for razzle dazzle from Oklahoma during the spring game, you were sadly mistaken. OU coach Bob Stoops said he wanted to keep the offense simple Friday afternoon, and OU certainly did just that.

Each quarterback was given their chance to show what they could do in Red’s 20-7 victory against White in front of more than 42,000 fans at Owen Field on Saturday afternoon.

The verdict? The battle will continue.

Throughout spring, it has felt like Baker Mayfield has been the No. 1 guy. And there were times Saturday where it’s clear why many feel it’s going to be that way.

But Mayfield, as well as some of the other quarterbacks, had moments where it was clear the influence of the crowd played a role into things.

For better or worse, that’s going to be Mayfield.

“I love taking shots,” Mayfield said. “When you have one-on-one matchups, you have to take your chances. There’s times when you need to hold back, too, and it showed today. But I’m going to take my shots.”

There’s good that comes with that, too, as Mayfield completed 10 of 13 passes for 176 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Mayfield gave his receivers chances to make a play as Jeffery Mead did with a spectacular one-handed grab in the first half.

But most knew going into the event, the quarterback battle wasn’t going to be decided Saturday. It’s going to be the whole body of work, and Stoops is happy with the progress and feels better about the quarterback situation than he did before spring started.

“Sure but not because of today – because of the 12, 11 other practices,” Stoops said. “Those guys are making progress. These guys will learn from this. There’s a long time before we play a game. I feel like these guys will continue to grow in what we’re asking them to do.

“Baker and Trevor have had a lot of good days, you know, so we were conservative in everything we did today.”

Trevor Knight finished 6 of 13 for 78 yards with an interception and added a rushing touchdown. But the stats don’t ever really tell the story of a spring game and certainly didn’t tell the story of the one OU had Saturday.

For the second time in three seasons, Knight is in the middle of a quarterback battle. Two years ago, it was Knight, who was the unknown, coming in and earning the spot from Blake Bell.

This time around it’s Mayfield coming for Knight’s job. Knight said the competition is bringing out the best in him. All he’s asked for is the chance to compete, and he’s certainly getting that.

“Overall, think we played well,” Knight said. “On some of the bigger plays, felt we might have forced it. But today was a big deal for us. As far as execution goes, not really. As far as a learning moment, for all of us, not just quarterbacks, it was a good learning point.”

There’s still work to be done as the quarterbacks continue to make that transition to Lincoln Riley’s offense. Riley was quick to point out he is putting less stock in this practice compared to all the other ones in the spring.

Cody Thomas was 5-of-12 passing for 83 yards with an interception, while Justice Hansen completed all five of his passes for 70 yards.

It’s tough to know if this OU offense will become an “Air Raid” attack or how the offense will evolve. Riley doesn’t have a fancy label for it, but he knows what he’s hoping to see.

“Hopefully we’ll be an offense that can score a lot of points,” Riley said. “It’s as simple as that.”

OU wraps up spring practice with two more padded practices this week. Coming off a disappointing end to the 2014 season, the excitement has not diminished in Norman based on the crowd Saturday.

As for the question about who will be the starting quarterback, that’s one that cannot be answered just yet.

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