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NFL Spotlight

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Lincoln Riley Q&A

Keys To Success

End of an Era

Stepping Down

Dominating Force

2017 Recruiting

OU finished off a memorable 2016 season on high note

Road Warrior

Emmanuel Beal Q&A

Fast & Furious

Road Warrior

OU vs. Texas: By The Numbers

King's Corner

Steven Parker Q&A

Orlando Brown Q&A

Speed Burner

King's Corner

Next Step

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QB Questions?

Common Cause

Right on Target

Flying High at No. 1

Headed North

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California Connection

Red River Rejuvenation

To The Point

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Aaron Ripkowski Q&A

Sooner Flashback: Jakie Sandefer

Next Generation

Hiring Time

Sooners hire new offensive coordinator

Samaje Perine Q&A

Aaron Ripkowski Q&A

Mike Stoops Q&A

Josh Heupel Q&A

All in the Family

Road Warrior

On Point

King's Corner

Sugar Bowl Review

Editorial

OU to meet Alabama in Sugar Bowl

Josh Heupel Q&A

Josh Heupel Q&A

Boomer Bio

The Closer

Sooner Success

Mike Stoops Q&A

Bill Bedenbaugh Q&A

Spring Football Review

Spring Football Review

To The Point

Boomer Bio: Julian Wilson

Boomer Bio: Chuka Ndulue

Boomer Bio: Bronson Irwin

Jalen Saunders Q&A

Patience Rewarded

Boomer Bio: Sterling Shepard

Taylor-made for Oklahoma

Tony Jefferson Q&A

Attention Getter

A Change of Plans

A Change of Plans

Proud Heritage

Hot Commodity

Boomer Bio; James Winchester

Boomer Bio; James Winchester

Boomer Bio: Aaron Ripkowski

Cornerstone

Playmaker

Playmaker

Strictly Striker

Javon Harris Q&A

Boomer Bio: Austin Haywood

Locked In & Loaded

Ben Habern Q&A

Landry Jones Q&A

The Classics

Top Ten Recruits

Bonus Prospects

Oklahoma Influences

Tight End Tough

Marquis On The Mark

Sooner Stars Set To Return

Jeremy Beal Q&A

Jamell Fleming Q&A

Boomer Bio: Trey Millard

Stacy McGee Q&A

Red River Tradition

Red River Tradition

James Patton Q&A

Boomer Bio: Eric Mensik

Quarterback Race

Quarterback Race

Boomer Bio: Kenny Stills

Boomer Bio: Marshall Musil

Getting His Kicks

Making The Right Moves In Recruiting

Bradford looks sharp in workout

No Doubt About It

Boomer Bio: Willie Martinez

Boomer Bio: Ronnell Lewis

Boomer Bio: Ronnell Lewis

Norman Bound

Showdown In The Sun

Jay Norvell Q&A

Jay Norvell Q&A

Boomer Bio: Dejuan Miller

Adrian Taylor doing just fine

Joseph Ibiloye Q&A

The Real Deal

Road Warrior

Meet Dusty Dvoracek This Saturday!

Casey Walker Q&A

Best of The Red River Rivalry

Bradford To Start Against Baylor

Facebook & Football

Tackling Machine

Keith Jackson Appearing this Friday in Norman

Josh Heupel Q&A

Boomer Bio: Stephen Good

Top Targets

Brent Venables Q&A

Boomer Bio: Cory Brandon

Tisdale and Griffin

Wayman Tisdale Dies

Sam Bradford Q&A

Auston English Q&A

Blake Griffin earns Naismith Award

Ryan Reynolds Q&A

The Wait Is Over

Outlook for 2009

Outlook for 2009

Staying Put

Bradford, Gresham, Williams Coming Back

Make Room For Sam

Lendy Holmes Q&A

Bradford Wins Heisman

Heisman Material

Boomer Bio: Frank Alexander

Sooners Headed To KC For Big 12 Title Game

Sudden Impact

Sudden Impact

Gerald McCoy Q&A

Gerald McCoy Q&A

Offensive linemen Roundtable

Boomer Bio: Mossis Madu

Boomer Bio: Mossis Madu

Travis Lewis Q&A

Travis Lewis Q&A

Auston English Q&A

Jackie Shipp Q&A

Bob Stoops Q&A

Boomer Bio

Theyve Got It Covered

Bradford Talks About Sooner Experience

Big Dreams

Plenty Of Things To Chew on this Offseason

Marcus Walker Q&A

Looking Ahead

Greater Expectations

Manny Being Manny

The Big Easy

Super Sidekick

English Lesson

Revved Up & Remodeled

Firmly Committed

A Cut Above

The Definition of Rivalry

On The Rise

Irresistible Force

Bookends

Bradford Named Starting QB

Venables Verbatim

Sooner Spectator & Rivals.com Teaming Up

Final Chapter

Catching Up With Sumlin

Welcome Back Little Joe

Wilson’s Defensive Wisdom

Reggie Smith Q&A

Malcolm Over The Middle

Fantastic Five

Thompson & Alexander To Sign Autographs

WE'RE BACK!!!!

GET READY FOR THE RETURN OF SOONER SPECTATOR!

OU’s Greatest

Boomer Bio: Brody Eldridge

Boomer Bio: Fred Strong

Dual Threat: Stephen Garcia

Thirty Reasons Why OU will beat Texas

Double Duty

Kody Cooke: A Conversation

Boomer Bio: Lendy Holmes

Welcome Back

Quick Five With Nic Harris

Road Warrior

The Opposition

Defensive Backing

Recruiting: Crimson Bloodline

Wilson Weighs In

Replacing Runnels?

Defensive Outlook

Top Shelf: Austin Box

Rufus Revelations

Reaction to Capel Hiring

A.D. Unscripted

OU will miss Sampson

OU Scrimmage Report

Joey Halzle Q&A

Gray, OU prep for The Dance

Moore is Better

Sooners eye stretch run

Haskell remains a lost treasure

Boomer Bio: Patty Gasso

Sherri Coale Conversation

Taylor Made

Future Considerations

McCoy becomes a Sooner

Michael Neal Q&A

Recruiting: Dominique Franks Q&A

Strong Willed

Football Recruiting Notes

Remembering Billy Ball

Enough Gloom & Doom

Back In Business

Endowed Scholarships Announced

USC or Texas: The Lesser of Two Evils?

Stoops is not leaving OU

Sooners down Ducks in Holiday Bowl

Biding His Time

Kelvin Sampson Q&A

Next Stop Division I

Boomer Bio: Allen Patrick

Chris Messner Q&A

Bob Stoops' take on Bedlam Victory

Terrance Anderson's Journey

OU vs. Tech: The Answers

OU vs. Tech Matchups

Road Warrior

Stoops talks about OU's 36-30 win

OU vs. A&M matchups

OU Coaches’ Roundtable

Recruiting: Derek Burton

Boomer Bio: Juaquin Iglesias

Carl Pendleton Q&A

Sooners topple Huskers in Lincoln

OU-Nebraska Matchups

Recruiting: Ugo Chinasa

Sooners top Baylor

OU vs. Baylor Matchups

Recruiting: Offensive Line

Recruiting: Adron Tennell

Sooners top Jayhawks

OU vs. Kansas Matchups

Boomer Bio

A Pleasant Conversation

Texas tops Oklahoma

Red River Rivarly Matchups

Dusty Dvoracek: In The Trenches

Sooners Roll Past K-State

OU vs. K-State Matchups

Recruiting: Replenishing The Backfield

Boomer Bio

Sooners give one away

Recruiting Demarco Murray

C.J. Ah You Q&A

The Answers: OU vs. Tulsa

Not Pretty, But Sooners Win

Spectator Sneak Preview

Bob Stoops' take on TCU loss

Texas Christian Sacks Sooners

Moses leads Sooner tight ends

Rufus Alexander Q&A

Thompson gets nod at QB

Birdine Lost For Season

Sampson to Visit Kuwait for Hoops with Troops

Walk-on making noise at WR

Travis Wilson Q&A

Clint Ingram Q&A

Sooners open fall practice

Brent Venables Q&A

Sooner single-game tickets go on sale Monday

Questions about Sooners' aura not surprising

Joseph talks about summer workouts

OU at Big 12 Media Days

Kim Named to U.S. Walker Cup Team

Sooners name Golloway

Stephenson decides to stay at Wichita State

Stephenson takes OU head baseball job

Soon to be Sooners

New Sooner Nic Harris excited about new digs

2005 Season Preview Issue Available Now!!

Letter from the Editor

Q and A

Ever Elusive

Sooner Selections

Ole Miss powers past Sooners

OU's Weekly Sports Report

OU inks JUCO point guard

OU's Kim wins Big 12 Golf Title

White and Vermeil talk about first day of rookie camp

White gets a chance with Kansas City

Red Rallies to Down White

Big crowd expected

Prelude To Greatness?

Breaking Down The Offense

Spring football eases pain




Tommy Grady
Breaking Down The Offense
Quarterback Race Takes Spring Spotlight

Chuck Long almost can't go wrong.

Does he choose the big, strong, fast, athletic quarterback with the steely eyes and unwavering determination?

Or does he choose the can't-miss kid with the rocket-pack feet and spring-loaded arm?

Or does he choose the second-floor passer with surprisingly taut nerves and PlayStation accuracy?

“It's very close. They each have had their great days. They each have had their average days," Long said halfway through spring practice. "You're not only looking for a guy to hopefully separate, but you're also looking for consistency from each one of them on a day-to-day basis. It's tight right now. There's no leader. I anticipate that going into the fall."

You know their names. Junior Paul Thompson, 6-foot-4 and athletic, got backup snaps behind Jason White during Oklahoma's 2003 run to the national title game. Third-year sophomore Tommy Grady, 6-7 and a marvel of accuracy in the mold of White, did the same last season. Redshirt freshman Rhett Bomar, 6-3 and quick of foot with an even quicker release, was the No. 1-ranked high school quarterback in the country in 2003, and spent the '04 season studying quietly.

Bob Stoops says the quarterback who makes the most plays and the fewest mistakes while giving the Sooners the best chance to win is the quarterback who will play this fall.

That wasn't determined during the spring.

“For a young group," Long said, “they've really taken care of the ball. I remember those other guys (White, Nate Hybl and Brent Rawls) were young, and they were throwing those balls into those guys a lot this time of year. These guys have taken great care of the football so far, and that's been impressive to me.''

Midway through spring, Grady appeared to make a slight move ahead of the others. Long loved his confidence and his accuracy. He started the first major scrimmage —somebody had to, Long said — and went 9-of-14 for 88 yards and a touchdown, and also led another scoring drive and got six first downs in 26 snaps.

At the same time, Thompson might have slid back a little. He was the third quarterback in the scrimmage — don't read too much into that, either, Long said — and went just 7-of-17 for 40 yards. He collected just two first downs in 33 snaps and was 2-of-8 passing on third down.

Bomar started slow in the scrimmage but heated up, at one point completing 10-of-12 passes. He finished 10-of-16 for 84 yards and a score and directed an additional TD drive. Bomar picked up 12 first downs in 38 snaps and was 3-for-4 on third down. Four of Bomar's five possessions were with the Sooners' No. 2 offense (against the No. 2 defense).

One thing the quarterback position will have more of than it has in the past: mobility. Not since White's pre-knee injury days has a Sooner QB scampered around like Thompson and Bomar. Even Grady has busted out of the pocket a few times.

Either way, the battle has been intense, with players moving up or moving down every week, every day, every snap.

``Yeah, I love it. I'm a competitor, and I love competing," Thompson said. ``I love going out there and showcasing my skills."

``The best thing is just being out here and practicing, working with some of the older guys and the competition," Bomar said. ``I'm a competitor. All three of us are. We all get along. We're all friends. But we're all trying to outdo each other, because our No. 1 goal is to start for Oklahoma."

Early public opinion presumed that either the more experienced Thompson or the more dynamic Bomar would be the starter. But Grady was quietly the best over the first half of spring.

``The press can think what they want, but the coach is going to make the decisions," Grady said. ``I'm going out every day and competing the same way."

Long's assessment at the midway point of the spring was concise, but he didn't tip his hand.

``I thought they had pretty good pace. Some of the tempo slowed up a little bit, but I like their resolve in coming back and putting some drives together," Long said. ``There were times where they misread some things, but that's just part of the deal and learning. But overall, I thought they looked pretty good for their first scrimmage."

Long said he noticed Grady's consistency, and he noticed Bomar's playmaking. He also noticed Thompson's struggles.

``Tommy was pretty consistent (in the first scrimmage). He put some nice drives together," Long said. ``Rhett came in and put some nice drives together, and got rid of the ball quick. Paul had struggled a little bit, but he's had a good camp so far and has been really steady. Knowing Paul, he'll come back and have nice practices."

Senior running back Kejuan Jones probably won't get a vote when the time comes to name the starter, but he endorsed all three.

“It's a three-way tie, you know," Jones said. “Whoever is the starting quarterback, the backup quarterback or the third-string quarterback, those guys are all good. If they went anywhere else in the country, they'd be starting. We're just blessed to have three great quarterbacks."

Jones represents part of another dilemma entirely for the Sooners in the spring. He's an experienced running back who doesn't need a whole lot of work, but with starter Adrian Peterson out the entire spring following shoulder surgery, Jones — despite an illness — has been forced into action with Donta Hickson and Jacob Gutierrez.

The offense this fall will lean heavily on Peterson no matter who the quarterback is. Peterson's absence this spring is a good thing in that he's getting to rest up for what will be a busy season, and certainly his shoulder needed repair. And others get a chance to get work behind him.

But his absence is a bad thing in that whoever wins the quarterback job, and however the offensive line shapes up, and whoever is the core group of receivers, isn't getting to work with the offense's most important player.

Long didn't expect that would be an issue, however.

“No, because he came into training camp last year for the first time in the fall. He wasn't here in the spring last year, and we got in his tempo and he got in ours pretty quick," Long said.”I think the summer is going to be real big for Adrian. He's going to be here over the summer and he'll work on all that tempo and handoffs. Then once we get in training camp, we have to hone in and make sure he gets enough work there."

The offensive line could have five players in new positions.

Start with senior left tackle Davin Joseph, who was an all-star at right guard last season. Senior Kelvin Chaisson played strictly left guard in 2004 but spent the first part of spring at center. Versatile senior Chris Bush has backed up at center and right guard and even started at left guard, where he spent most of spring. He could play either center or guard. Senior Chris Chester, who has backed up at center and been a jumbo-set tight end, worked exclusively as the right guard early in the spring but may be on his way to center. And third-year sophomore Akim Millington has taken over the right tackle duties from graduated All-American Jammal Brown.

Wide receiver is something of a dilemma in that OU loses four proven and experienced players at the position, and returns only two in seniors Travis Wilson and Jejuan Rankins. Wilson led the team with 11 TD catches last year, but Rankins may have been the team's best wideout in the spring. And redshirt freshman Quentin Chaney emerged as a consistent pass-catching threat, while guys like sophomore Tristen Ross and redshirt freshmen Lendy Holmes and Fred Strong showed plenty of playmaking ability.

“We're excited about the potential of this group and this combination of veteran guys in Wilson and Rankins and young talented guys in Chaney, Holmes, Strong and Ross," said receivers coach Darrell Wyatt. “I expect those guys to come in and compete for a starting job, for playing time, and to continue to give us the depth we've had over the course of the last six years."

The offensive line and the receiver corps will be strengthened by the addition of some incoming players in the fall. And the running back position will change completely when Peterson returns for two-a-days.

The tight ends and fullbacks didn't lose anyone from last year's team and took over in the spring roles of both leadership and playmaking.

``They're probably the most veteran group on the team right now," said tight ends/fullbacks coach Kevin Sumlin.

(John E. Hoover is the OU football beat writer for the Tulsa World.)