Make no mistake about it, this is an important season for Oklahoma's quarterbacks. Landry Jones enters into his final season as the signal caller which means Drew Allen and Blake Bell are in their final summer before battling it out for the starting job in 2013. Jones, on the other hand, is on his final opportunity to establish his legacy as an Oklahoma quarterback. He could be the first quarterback that Bob Stoops has had to go 4-0 in bowl games but most OU fans rank him behind Sam Bradford and Jason White. Could 2012 change that?
Here's what we do and don't know about Oklahoma's quarterbacks.
What We Do Know
Landry Jones is the starter - That should go without saying but even when the starter holds 13 school passing records and is the most prolific passer in program history the back up quarterback is still the most popular guy on campus. You'd have to live under a rock to not be excited about the future of Oklahoma's quarterbacks but, even with all the talent on the bench, Jones in Oklahoma's best chance to win in 2012...and that's a no brainer. He's basically a four year starter and knows Josh Heupel's offense better than any other guy on campus. Aside from that, he's pretty darn good.
Regardless of who the back up is, Blake Bell will play - I honestly don't expect the coaching staff to name a back-up quarterback. When the depth chart is released it will most likely say Drew Allen or Blake Bell at #2. That said, the Belldozer package will put Blake Bell on the field a whole lot this fall. In addition to being a seemingly unstoppable power run package, there's no doubt that the package will be expanded this year to include more features...like multiple passing options.
Kendal Thompson and Trevor Knight Are Lurking - The race for next year's stater has started and this fall will play a crucial part of it. However, its only a two person race between Allen and Bell. One of those two will carry the load and the other will carry the clipboard next fall. While Thompson and Knight are stocked full of potential they'll learn some valuable lessons by watching the competition between Allen and Bell over the next year before entering their own battle following the 2014 season.
What We Don't Know
What's going to happen when the lights come on - Landry Jones spent a significant about of time trying to improve his footwork during the offseason. He's having the best summer camp of his Sooner career and he's got a new group of talented receivers to replace the old group of talented receivers that left after last season. That said, we don't know what we're going to get in the way of an improved Landry Jones until after 9:00 pm (CST) on September 1st. By all accounts its looking pretty good though.
How reliable the backups are - Raise your hand if you've seen Drew Allen throw a pass in a game on a meaningful snap. Yeah, that's what I thought. I also know that we can count the number of passes that Blake Bell has thrown in a game on one hand. In a perfect world you never have to look at your backups to win a game or carry you through a season. However, we all learned in 2009 that college football is far from a perfect world.
How much chemistry has developed with the receivers - Again, things sound great but we won't know until kickoff. The addition of Justin Brown was such a huge boost that we really can't place a value on it but he has yet to catch a pass from Landry Jones in a game. In fact the only receiver the Sooners will have, to start the season, who has caught a pass from Jones is Kenny Stills.
How It Comes Together
Oklahoma was ahead of the curve on the spread offense movement. Since Bob Stoops' arrival to Norman in 1999 the Sooners have been throwing the ball around at an unprecedented pace. As a result, Oklahoma has become the most successful program in the Big XII and two quarterbacks have taken home hardware from The Downtown Athletic Club in New York City.
Landry Jones will be the most successful quarterback in the Stoops era in the area of games won and stats produced. Granted its because he's had four years to make it happen but let's also not overlook the skill set he has that could put him on par with the other great names who have been under center since Stoops arrived.