Oklahoma football: Sooners cursed and blessed by the back-up quarterback


Yesterday, redshirt freshman Cody Thomas was named the back-up quarterback by head coach Bob Stoops.

A two-sport athlete, Thomas has yet to take his first snap in an actual game, but among OU’s eligible quarterbacks, he provides the best option in the event Trevor Knight suffers another injury.

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Oklahoma has been fortunate to claim some great collegiate passers over the past decade and a half. With guys like Josh Heupel, Jason White, Sam Bradford, and Landry Jones, the Sooners have sustained a level of success that makes them one of the country’s blue bloods.

However, the back-up quarterback position has not been the friendliest.

If Knight were to go down this year, Cody Thomas would not have history on his side. Maybe this #14 is different, but looking back at a few losses from Oklahoma’s past, the Sooners have suffered a few major letdowns when their starter is sidelined.

First, let’s look at 2007. The Sooners were in National Title talks and only owned one loss that came early in the season.

The third-ranked Sooners opened its November road trip to Lubbock with a pick-six via Lendy Holmes. However, on Oklahoma’s second offensive possession, Sam Bradford endured a concussion that kept him out for the rest of the game.

Texas Tech would take advantage of a frazzled Oklahoma offense, going up 27-10 on OU by halftime. Back-up quarterback Joey Halzle threw two fourth quarter touchdowns to Manny Johnson, but the Sooner rally fell short, losing 34-27 to the Red Raiders.

Bradford returned the next game, and Oklahoma knocked off #1 Missouri in the Big 12 Championship Game, but their slip-up in Lubbock cost Oklahoma a potential bid for the National Title.

However, 2007 would not be the last time a Sam Bradford injury sent in a back-up quarterback.

Two years later, Sam Bradford was a Heisman Trophy Winner and the Sooners were preseason favorites to contend for a Big 12 and National Championship.

As you all painfully remember, Landry Jones took over Bradford’s job full-time when he suffered a season-ending injury against the Texas Longhorns.

Landry Jones came up short against the Horns, and in total, he lost five games in 2009 as either the starter or closer.

Jones finished his career as one of the best statistical passers in school history, but he couldn’t provide any immediate success when called in to action.

Following ‘The Stache’ Era, Trevor Knight was named the starter before the 2013 season opener against UL-Monroe.

Injuries would keep Knight from playing his entire redshirt freshman season. However, his back-up by the end of the season, Blake Bell, took over for Knight after he was sidelined in the 2013 Bedlam game.

Bell drove the Sooners down field and threw the game-winning touchdown to Jalen Saunders to knock off the Pokes, spoiling Oklahoma State’s bid at their second Big 12 crown in three years.

The back-up quarterback position can be a blessing and a curse. It’s a free pass to stand on the sideline for the entire game, but once the first string goes down it’s either be the hero or the fall man for an unfulfilled season.

Cody Thomas shows promise, though. From his high school days, Thomas was mobile in the pocket and could really sling the ball.

If Trevor Knight is the same QB he was against Alabama and can stay healthy, hopefully Thomas will never have to be thrown in to the fire.

College football, though, is an unpredictable sport, and who knows if we’ll ever find out how deep Oklahoma is at the quarterback position.

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