20 Aug 2013 11:28 AM EST
-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Blake Bell scores TD against Texas in the Red River Rivalry. (Image Source: Lawrence Peart/DailyTexanOnline.com)
Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops isn’t ready to name a starting quarterback yet.
''I want to have a few more practices,'' Stoops said, per the Associated Press. ''Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. So, when we're ready, we'll say so.''
With sophomore Kendal Thompson sidelined, it’s been a two-man race to replace four-year starter Landry Jones. The favorite heading into camp, in the public’s eyes at least, was junior Blake Bell. The Belldozer was among the top short-yardage runners in college football last season, scoring 11 touchdowns as a sophomore. However, he’s attempted only 20 passes in two seasons in Norman.
The challenger is redshirt freshman Trevor Knight, who is a very different kind of dual-threat QB. While Bell stands at 6’6” and tips the scales at 252 pounds, using power to run the football, the 6’1”, 201-pound Knight is much more athletic, more in the mold of Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel.
“It's really good to see how they're pushing one another for that spot,” starting center Gabe Ikard said of the position battle.
Texas QB David Ash Ready to Lead
When starting quarterback Garrett Gilbert was injured in 2011, David Ash was pressed into duty as a true freshman, long before he expected to see the field as a college football player.
"Coming in I didn't really expect to play until I was a redshirt sophomore," Ash said, per Sports Illustrated.
The challenges of being a Division I quarterback at a blueblood program like Texas might have been too much for Ash.
"When I first came in we'd just gotten a new coaching staff, we were installing a new offense, we were very young as a team and then I was a freshman quarterback, all at the same time," said Ash. "None of those things were exactly positive."
Neither was Ash’s production as a freshman. He completed just 56.9 percent of his throws with four TD passes to eight picks. As a sophomore, Ash made a major leap improving his completion percentage to 67.3, while at the same time increasing his yards per attempt from 6.20 to 8.49. He also threw 19 scoring strikes to eight interceptions.
More established as junior, Texas coach Mack Brown sees Ash as the man to take the Longhorns back to greatness, both on the field and as a leader.
"He's leading the team much better and they believe in him. Sitting here the last two years, I haven't been able to say that," Brown said. "David is the upside. He's the guy that needs to get us over the hump. If he stays healthy and the defense plays good, he will."
Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards.
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