Supporting the winner — and there’s still a widespread belief that it will be Bell jogging onto Owen Field for the first snap Aug. 31 — is the key to the Sooners’ offensive success.
Bradford had it in bunches when he won the job in 2007 and his talent quickly blossomed because of it.
The Sooners want a similar transition.
“We’ve made it a point all summer that the offensive line can make whatever quarterback they put behind us life a lot easier if we open up the run game more than we did last year. We need to get higher yards per carry,” OU center Gabe Ikard said. “We’ve really emphasized that because it can set up all the play-action and boot game we can utilize with those mobile quarterbacks.
“We’re taking it as the offensive line’s responsibility because we’re veteran guys who have played a lot of football here. We can make those guys’ lives a lot easier.”
Playing quarterback at OU will never be tranquil. It’s a pressure cooker where the spotlight never fades and every mistake is in stunning high-definition.
But creating an atmosphere where either Bell, Thompson or Knight can ease into the spot is the goal. There are some parts of the process that can’t be avoided. No matter what, the quarterback is the director of the offense. However, there are issues that can be kept off his plate.
The Sooners believe they’ve created a situation where the weight of the world — physically and mentally — won’t be on the quarterback.
“When you have that many guys around you that know their job and don’t have to be told their job at the line, it allows a quarterback to be more of a player than a coach on the field,” fullback Trey Millard said. “For a new quarterback, that’s a positive.”