Preseason camp nears for the Oklahoma Sooners, who are looking to rebound from what can only be described as a disappointment.
There’s new blood to lead the Sooners. On offense, Lincoln Riley begins his first season with Oklahoma and his first as a major conference coordinator. Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops plans to work from the box this season and has two new assistants helping to mold the defense.
What happens on the field will be more important than what happens on the sideline, though. Oklahoma still has a few battles yet to be decided. Over the next week, Sooners Illustrated will examine those battles.
Case for Trevor – The good for Knight is that he’s the most experienced and the fastest of all the quarterbacks – even though each is sufficiently mobile. With the most experience comes the most opportunities to struggle, and Knight did a lot of that last season.
He didn’t show very good decision making on short throws, and his long attempts lacked the accuracy of his redshirt freshman season.
Oklahoma knows what it’s getting with Knight, though. Don’t rule him out just yet.
Case for Baker – Maybe a more crafty runner than Knight with a little less speed, Mayfield does have a bigger arm. His accuracy on the deep pass is the best of the three, but he has a penchant for leaning on his arm.
Sort of a poor man’s Brett Favre, Mayfield isn’t afraid to take chances on deep attempts. It led to a couple interceptions in the spring game and has done so in the past as well.
He’s also a stellar dancer – although that probably won’t have much of an impact on the quarterback competition.
Case for Cody – Thomas short accuracy was sort of disproven in his three starts last year. Some thought he was a more accurate passer than Knight, but in tough weather conditions (rain and cold), Thomas was extremely ineffective (completing just 36.7 percent of his passes last year).
He was good running the read option – better than Knight. That’s just not the offense Oklahoma is running anymore.
Verdict – It’s pretty clear that Thomas is the third option. Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops was adamant at Big 12 Media Days that a “certain” quarterback isn’t leading the race.
That assumed leader is Mayfield, and it’s not farfetched to believe he’s the starter for the beginning of preseason camp – even though Knight came to Big 12 Media Days with the Sooners.
Mayfield also missed much of summer workouts with shoulder fatigue.
Ultimately though, it’ll be Mayfield’s arm that wins out and his familiarity in the pass-first offense of new offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley.
Will the Sooners be willing to live with a couple forced deep passes though? Or will Mayfield tone it down? Or does it even matter?
With quarterback, there are still a lot of unanswered questions.