Q&A with Sooner QB Rhett Bomar

Bomar talks about his freshman season, the Holiday Bowl and the future of OU's offense under Kevin Wilson heading into spring practice.

OU Sophomore quarterback Rhett Bomar is already anxious to get started on his second season. The ultimate competitor, Bomar wasn't satisfied with his play despite playing much better over the second half of the season.

By most accounts, Bomar has a successful freshman season starting 11 games and completing 167 of 308 passes for 2,018 yards and 10 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. Bomar hit on 54.2 percent of his passes and averaged 168.2 yards passing per game. He also rushed for 398 yards and four touchdowns, but sacks took most of that yardage away.

Bomar's toughness and determination won over his teammates and his willingness to mix it up as a blocker and runner is something his teammates appreciate. The season is just over and the second semester is just now getting underway, but already Bomar is ready to get back out on the field and he is ready to take the Sooners offense to the next level.

But first, Bomar will dive into the Sooners' off-season program. But make no mistake about it, he is already getting ready mentally for spring football. Recently, Bomar sat down with OUInsider.com to talk about his first year and his future as the starting quarterback at OU.

JH: How much did you improve this year considering you didn't start the year as the starting quarterback, but you started all but one game when it was all said and done?

RB: "From the first game to the last it just seemed like night and day. The first of the year just seems so long ago towards the end of the year. And by the Oregon game, you actually forgot about those first few games and how we played because the second half of the season we just played so well as a team and started to come on.

"For me personally, my feelings are a lot different now than at the first of the year. I got more comfortable and I just felt I started to play much better. And as a result, our offense played a lot better too."

JH: Athletes always talk about getting into a zone or getting to the point where their actions seem like it is second nature to them. Did you get to to the point this season where things seemed like second nature to you?

RB: "I think it did towards the end of the year, just the way the games were played and the way that college football is. I got used to defenses and how good everybody is in college. You kind of get used to it after a while and you adjust a lot better, and it makes you a lot more comfortable out there on the field.

"You get used to seeing what different defenses teams are throwing against you. That is because most every team does the same thing or some variation of it, and you just have to get use to that. Getting experience helped a lot."

JH: What a weird year for the Sooners from early on when you don't throw the ball in the second half against Tulsa, but by the end of the year you are throwing the ball a bunch early against Oregon. You have to admit that what you were doing at the end of the year was nothing like you were doing at the beginning?

RB: "I am sure what we were doing was strange for many people considering the great success we have had here in the past on offense. We just played to our strengths.

"Early in the year we were shuffling guys around in the o-line and shuffling guys around at receiver and even at quarterback. Then we had some injuries and we couldn't really get together. We got a good unit up front towards the end of the year and they started to play really well.

"Our freshmen receivers really stepped up and started to play well, and I thought I stepped up my game. We just kind of got more comfortable as the year went on."

JH: It hurt your offense a bunch when you lost Adrian Peterson, wouldn't you agree?

RB: "Yeah, it makes your whole gameplan different going in whenever you lose your starting running back. You want to be two-dimensional out there and you want to be able to run and pass.

"When we played Oregon in the Holiday Bowl, that is how we won that game. That helps out a lot and it takes pressure off both sides."

JH: Where did you feel you improved the most during this past year?

RB: "I just think I improved by making decisions quicker and knowing where to go with the ball. Towards the end of the year, I was better at looking at the defense and getting a pre-snap read. I know what to expect from a defense more now than I did early in the season.

"I thought throughout the year that improved a lot. It was basically just getting more comfortable and not getting jittery out there or nervous and just playing the game."

JH: Did you think you became somewhat of a veteran by the end of the year?

RB: "That is what it feels like, you know. The college season lasts a long time and it is a lot different than high school. It was my first year playing and I got a taste of that as you are playing for a long time every year.

"You just have to get used to that because by the end of the year it just seemed like that first of the year was so far away. It seemed like a long time ago, and it showed because I got better as the year went on."

JH: What did you think of the offenses' performance in the Oregon game?

RB: "I thought we performed really well, but we should have put more points up on the board. We had a turnover down there on the goal line, and that would have put us up 24-7. That would have really put the game away early in the fourth quarter. So we didn't get that in the end zone, but we moved the ball the whole game.

"The first half we moved the ball well, but we didn't capitalize or put points on the board for different reasons. I thought we came out throwing the ball well in the first half, and in the second half we got our running game going a little bit. That third quarter everything started clicking pretty well."

JH: Rhett, you actually got down on a run and avoided a hit in the Holiday Bowl. Is this a growth factor for you and sign of maturity as a quarterback?

RB: "Yeah, I did I guess. I was running and I saw either the corner or the safety coming up on me and I was by the sideline. To tell you the truth, I didn't really slide. That is what my dad and a couple of other people were saying to me as they were getting on me about sliding, but after they looked at the replay they knew that I just tripped.

"In reality, I did trip and I wasn't planning on getting down. I was going to go out of bounds to tell you the truth. I thought about it and decided that I was not going to try to take the guy on and I was going to go out of bounds, but I slipped when I was cutting and decided I couldn't do anything more running so I just got down."

JH: So the legend of Rhett Bomar continues... You were going to take on the strong safety or whoever as you were going to go out of bounds right?

RB: "I wasn't going to go right after him. I was going to try to get out of bounds and not take a hit. I was going to do something, but that was what I was going to do then I kind of tripped and fell and hit the ground."

JH: You had Chuck Long as your offensive coordinator and quarterback coach your first two years at OU. And then in the Holiday Bowl you had Kevin Wilson as the offensive coordinator. Did you sense any major difference between the two?"

RB: "It was pretty much the same offense overall, but we added a few different plays that we did not use all year. We do that every game just like we did all year. I think you can tell the difference between each coach how they call plays. Maybe one might be a little more aggressive than the other, so every coach is different.

"They call different plays at different times, so you can tell the difference in both of them. Both of them are great coaches, and I thought Coach Wilson called a great gameplan for the Oregon game. He called some great plays and helped us win."

JH: What are your expectations with the offense for next year? How will the offense evolve with Coach Wilson as the offensive coordinator?

RB: "I don't know, but I just hope we keep growing from what we did in the Holiday Bowl. I hope we come out throwing and everything like that, which will take pressure off of the running game.

"Hopefully, we will be balanced, and I am sure we will do that. You have to run and throw it to be successful, you can't just rely on the running game. Just because we have Adrian back there, we have to take some pressure off of him throwing the ball.

"We are capable of doing that now with the receivers back to come out and strike at people. We can just go after them."

JH: What are your thoughts on the offense going into spring practice?

RB: "I think everybody is really excited about next year, about the team overall and about our offense. We have a lot of people back and a lot of our skill positions are back. We are losing four senior starters in the offensive line, and that is going to hurt.

" The offense line is the most important part of the offense and you need that to go. We have some guys who have to stepped up for us and it is going to be a big spring for the O-line. We are going to get some new guys in there and we will see how that goes."

JH: You have to find a fullback, establish a tight end and put together a new offensive line. What are your thoughts on the young talent at those positions on offense?

RB: "I think Joe Jon (Finley) can be a really good tight end. He did well when he had an opportunity to play this year. He had two touchdown catches, so he can catch the ball and he never drops it. I think blocking-wise he is going to be fine. He does weigh close to 240 and I sure during this off-season he will get his weight up there around 250. That is probably as much as Bubba weighed. I think he is more than a capable blocker, and I think he will show that next year."

JH: You have a bunch of young guys waiting in the wings on the offenisve line, but you have already played behind those guys so you know what they can do, don't you?

RB: "Yeah, you are right. Duke (Robinson) and (Branndon) Braxton are absolutely huge. They have a lot of talent between those two guys and we need them to really step up for next year. I am sure they will.

"This is going to be a big spring for them to go out there and show what they can do. They have a lot of talent, and so does J.D. (Quinn) and Ben (Barresi). I am excited to watch them perform in the spring."

JH: During this recruiting season the coaches signed a junior college quarterback in Joey Halzle, who has enrolled and will go through spring ball. What are your thoughts on the fact you are going to have some competition this spring?

RB: "Everybody on our team is pushed by another great player. We all know that we can not go out there and relax and play terrible all spring. I can't throw bad passes all spring, as that would never be good. I feel that I am the guy and that I am going to be the guy here until I leave.

" I am confident about that, but with that being said I am going to go out in the spring and try to improve even more, just try to play my game and not worry about anything else."

JH: Every quarterback at OU leaves his legacy by the time he graduates and puts his stamp on the program. By the time you leave or graduate, what do you hope your legacy is?

RB: "I hope I leave one of toughness and confidence, and that of a quarterback that went out there and played hard every game. I want to be known as a guy who left it all out there on the field being tough.

"That is what I have always taken pride in, going out there and playing tough. I think guys respect that more than anything else. I just want to be a good leader, have confidence in my teammates and myself and finally — to be a winner."

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