Over seven months have passed since Oklahoma’s Cotton Bowl Classic loss to Texas A&M. The lingering questions from that game still have few, if any, answers.
Will the defense improve after giving up more than 34 points in four of the last five games?
Will the staff shakeup that brought in new offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh, defensive line Jerry Montgomery and special teams coordinator Jay Boulware reinvigorate the program?
Only game results can answer those two.
Sooner coach Bob Stoops punted on the one over who will be the quarterback when OU faces Louisiana-Monroe Aug. 31 when he took the stage Tuesday at Big 12 Football Media Days.
“We’ve got a number of guys in there in competition with him that are doing really well, Kendal Thompson and Trevor Knight to go along with Blake Bell,” he said. “We’ve never been real excited about naming a guy too early. So they’re working hard as well.”
The winner of the competition will take over at a unique time. Yes, the Sooners have some question marks entering the season. Outside of the quarterback spot, the offense seems settled. There are seven offensive linemen back with starting experience. Three running backs have started and played well in big games, and two receivers back after breakout seasons.
History predicts what train-wreck seasons tend to look like. The foundation for OU’s eight-win seasons in 2005 and 2009 were built by new quarterbacks with little experience around them.
OU lost the last vestiges of its 2003 and 2004 teams just as Paul Thompson and Rhett Bomar started competing for the job in 2005. In 2009, Landry Jones was thrust into the starting job due Sam Bradford’s shoulder injury that included an inexperienced offensive line and a new group of receivers.
“Unlike in 2005 when we had a new quarterback, everyone else around him was inexperienced. A whole new offensive line, a bunch of new receivers. I knew it was going to be more difficult,” Stoops said. “I feel, and we’ll see how it works, but I feel whoever comes in this year will have a bunch of experience around him. A very experienced offensive line, three senior running backs, a bunch of receivers that have all played. It should help and support him in a better way.”