After two weeks of pleading with the OU coaches to get him on the field somewhere, Bob Stoops finally agreed to let junior quarterback Paul Thompson change to play some wide receiver.
Thompson won't be a wide receiver full-time as he will still be the Sooners back-up quarterback, but there is no question that he is going to work hard to get into the mix as a pass catcher.
Following practice today, Thompson talked to OUInsider.com about his new position.
OUIN: Are you trying to increase your practice load?
PT: "Yeah, a little bit. I definitely don't like sitting around watching. Anytime I can get out there, especially at the receiver position, that is always exciting for me. I definitely enjoy it."
OUIN: How did this come about?
PT: "We had talked about this or whatever. It was kind of a mutual decision, because I didn't want to sit around anymore. I just don't want to be just sitting around. I want to be on the field somehow. Today, I came down and played some receiver and that is where I am going to start to play some."
OUIN: Have you played receiver before?
PT: "Yeah, I have played wide receiver before in high school. I played it all my freshman year and then a little bit my sophomore year. I am definitely capable of playing it."
OUIN: Coach Stoops says you are still the No. 2 quarterback. How do you divide up the reps to give proper attention to both positions?
PT: "I just have to practice both of them. I have to come in with Coach Long for offense and stay late, and then meet with Coach Wyatt or depending on how it is going to go. We do have a meeting period before we go out and practice, so however it goes I have to start doing them both. In many ways both offensive positions correlates, so as I am watching one position I am basically watching the other position. It is not that difficult."
OUIN: Does playing quarterback give you a kick-start on being a receiver?
PT: "Yeah, I think it is different than just coming out blind, especially when you have been playing quarterback. It might be different if I was playing defense, but coming from quarterback I know every position. I know all the routes and depths and what I wanting the timing is supposed to be. It is going to be an easy transition for me."
OUIN: How long do you think it will take before you are up to speed at wide receiver?
PT: "Who knows. I came out today and I started off a little slow, then I picked it up real quick. I am ready to go right now. I am ready to play right now — tonight."
OUIN: Was there any hesitancy on the coach's part since you are the only scholarship back-up quarterback that they have on the current roster?
PT: "Yeah, it is a risk. But at the same time I have to get on the field. There are a lot of risks out there playing football. I have to get out there and make some plays for this team."
OUIN: Did you have to do some convincing on your part?
PT: "We talked about it a little bit prior to this week. I wanted to get some time in, because the bye week is a good opportunity to go in and focus on film and see where we might need some help at or where we might change some things up at. Right now is a good time for me to complement my time at both quarterback and receiver."
OUIN: Was it more difficult for you to not play since you did take your redshirt year last season?
PT: "Yeah, definitely. I am tired of sitting. Anybody that watches a game, especially me, this is my fourth year, I have to get out on the field and make some plays. The position I was in was not allowing me to do that."
OUIN: Is there any regret that you feel you need to leave the quarterback position to take a shot at wide receiver?
PT: "It is not regret that is making me do this. I am still working at quarterback watching film with Coach Long, as well with Coach Wyatt. There was no regret. I just have to get out there and help this team."
OUIN: Are you prepared for the possibility that you might be in the huddle as a receiver on one play and then at quarterback on the other?
PT: "Who knows how it is going to be or what is going to happen. I just have to focus on what I am doing right now. I can't worry about what happens in the future, but I can try to control what happens to me in the future. You just have to take what comes at you."
OUIN: How has this affected your relationship with Rhett Bomar?
PT: "We have had a good relationship. It has definitely been competitive on the field, and he had a good passing day during blitz today. It is not like we hate each other, but we are definitely competing against each other. We are still doing that, but I am also now catching some from him."
OUIN: Aren't you going to be Rhett's favorite receiver now? He is going to want you to be successful to cut down his competition isn't he?
PT: "I haven't looked at it like that, but maybe he will throw me a couple of extra balls."
OUIN: Is it also unique to have two minds that may be thinking a lot alike out there with you running routes and Rhett throwing the ball?
PT: "We can relate because we are on the same page as far as quarterbacking. That can definitely relate, and if I see something out there I will relay it to him. It also helps my playing quarterback to help me read the defense as a receiver."
OUIN: Was your situation growing into frustration for you as a player at OU?
PT: "When you are in a situation where it doesn't seem like you are getting anywhere, it does get frustrating at times. At the same time, the coaches understand that and this move is nothing against the coaches. They are working with 100 men out here. It is not like I am the only player in the country that is in this position. I have just decided to get out there and try to help this team."
OUIN: Have you been thinking about this for some time?
PT: "I have definitely had this in the back of my head. I knew I had to do something to get on the field. I can't sit around any more. Whatever it takes, I just have to get on the field and play. I was out here early trying to get some work, I tried to hide from you guys early. I guess you guys caught me, but I am definitely ready to get out there. At the receiver position, I can be successful at it."
OUIN: How did this process get started to move you to receiver?
PT: "A couple of coaches had gone in on my behalf to coach Stoops, because I had to get on the field somehow. That is as far as I am thinking. I have to get on the field somehow. That was pretty much my thinking."
OUIN: This is the first time you have been smiling in some time?
PT: "Yeah, it is. I am definitely excited about my opportunity. It was weird, because I have been waiting for this practice it seems like forever. Coach Long talked to me yesterday and I was nervous for practice for some reason. I was more nervous than when I started my first game. I want to make a good impression and come out here and be successful."
OUIN: How did you feel your first day went?
PT: "It went real well. I didn't do too much today. I just worked on a lot of run stops to polish my game. I still have to work on my routes, my stance and all that stuff. This is definitely something that is not in the far too distant future."
OUIN: This is almost like you are saying that you want a job on this football team, any job. You just want to be a part of the action?
PT: "That is the thing, I just want to get out there and show people I can play the game. I want to show them I am physical, can block and catch. I just want to use all my athletic ability. Blocking is not something that I will shy away from. I took pride in that today, getting in position on our running plays. Hopefully, that will spring our running back, quarterback or another receiver or whatever."
Thompson: "I have to get on the field somehow"
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