Following the Sooners final scrimmage of training camp on Wednesday the media caught up with OU Offensive Coordinator Chuck Long to get his thoughts on the quarterback race.
MEDIA: With the final scrimmage completed what will be the process for naming a starting quarterback?
CL: "We are going to look at film tonight and tomorrow and then have a discussion on it sometime in the morning."
MEDIA: What goes into the final decision?
CL: "We are going to go back to Day One spring ball, or I should say winter ball. We are going to go all the way back, and summer does play into it. How they did in the summer and, of course, the fall camp goes into it."
JH: So it is their total body of work from the end of last season to right now?
CL: "Yes, it is their total body of work. I think we have between seven and eight scrimmages to work from or to look at and study. A lot of that is where they began, where they ended and how consistent they were. If there were ups and downs in there that will play a part of it. There is a body of work to look at."
JH: Is the race still close?
CL: "It is close. They have both, in this process, have made tremendous strides as individual quarterbacks. That is the plus to come out of this thing, because I believe our football team could depend on both of them to win football games. That is what you want."
MEDIA: "Is there an X-factor in any of these, such as behavior off the field or something like that?
CL: "They have been even that way. As far as that is concerned, their participation is equal across the board and very good. There is no little X-factor that way. They both have been very good as far as participation in summer conditioning, spring and fall camp and how hard they work. That has been even."
MEDIA: Has this been as hard a decision as you have had to make?
CL: "The Nate and Jason decision was hard. I think we are conditioned to it now. In any race, you can't take that lightly and we certainly don't. But things have to play out over time. We don't want to be hasty with it and we want to be sure that there was a proper amount of time before we made a decision. I think we are conditioned to it more because of the Nate and Jason situation for a couple of years. We have become accustomed to it, or veteran to it. This decision is no different than that decision. That was a tough decision too."
MEDIA: Do you expect to talk to Bob and come up with a decision by the end of the week?
CL: "That is probably safe to say. We would like to get it done by the end of the week, hopefully no further than Friday. It could possibly be tomorrow. We are going to talk about it tomorrow and make a decision, and then go from there."
MEDIA: Do you think it is one guy or two quarterbacks?
CL: "That is what we are going to discuss. We are going to discuss that in the morning and see which way we want to go."
MEDIA: So there is a possibility that you will announce two quarterbacks?
CL: "There is that possibility."
JH: There seems to be such a fine line between a guy who makes plays while protecting the football or taking risks, and the quarterback who protects the football by being safe. Interceptions are not what you want, but to make plays sometimes you have to throw the ball down field. That seems to be an incredibly fine line for a quarterback?
CL: "That is the fine line for a quarterback. Does he throw three touchdowns and three interceptions in one game? And if so, you don't want that. That is the issue with quarterbacks. What is best for your football team at this time? That is something that we are going to discuss tomorrow. Bob has a great handle on the whole picture, and that is why I need to talk to him. He knows what his defense is capable of and special teams etc. I just get focused on the quarterback and offense, so it is important to me to talk to the head coach because he sees the whole picture. He knows the big picture and that is where he is good and he will guide the right way."
JH: The thought is the perception is that you have Rhett, who is more of a risk-taker, while Paul is more conservative. Do you look at it that way?
CL: "No, but it depends on the situation. Rhett is a younger quarterback who hasn't been here as long as Paul. Paul was a bit of a risk-taker at first too. You just learn over time, at this level, what you can and don't want to do. In some regards, Rhett is still learning that. But does that mean he is not capable of winning? No, he is capable of being a winning quarterback here and we think he is capable of winning this year."
MEDIA: Did you have some big plays in the passing game today?
CL: "We felt good about our performance. We had a good drive in the scrimmage and that is what you want. We had a positive feeling coming out of it. Offensively, we felt pretty good. A lot of the scrimmage was situational as we ran the ball on the goal-line and took some last second shots. You want to make sure that you cover all the situations. It is a game of situations, especially with an offense that does not have a lot of experience. You try to get them all experience as much as you can."
MEDIA: What did you think of the play of your quarterbacks today?
CL: "I thought they played well. The thing that I was looking for was to not give it to them, and they did a good job of that today. I thought they both handled themselves well and, in fact, we put them in some tough situations which they handled well."
Long says decision on QB could come Thursday
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