Backup quarterback job still up in air

Blake Bell (left) and Drew Allen are still neck-and-neck in their battle to backup Landry Jones in 2012. Getty Images, US Presswire

NORMAN, Okla. -- The 2009 season opener is a date Oklahoma Sooners fans hope to someday forget. Heisman-winning quarterback Sam Bradford left the field clutching his throwing shoulder, launching the Landry Jones era a year earlier than anyone could have predicted.

But were injury to also befall Jones, who would be given the first shot to replace him: Drew Allen or Blake Bell?

Bob Stoops isn't saying. And is in no hurry to do so, either.

"I don't feel any need or hope to have to do that really quickly," he said after the Red-White spring game last weekend.

"Our team knows those are as hard a workers as we have on the team. They like 'em both. They work hard. To have one in front of the other, that soon, there's no need to do it.

"If we feel, hey, it's cut-and-dry and we want to do it, then we will."

One of the biggest questions going into the spring was hardly answered. And so, the battle for the second-string quarterback job continues into the summer and beyond.

"I can't control that," Bell said. "The coaches will decide that. All I can do is compete."

Last weekend, Bell and Allen rotated quarterbacking the first-team offense in the spring game following Jones' first -- and only -- series.

Bell had a better afternoon, firing a frozen rope downfield to Jaz Reynolds for a 60-yard touchdown while finishing 14 of 19 passing with 179 yards. But Allen had his moments, too; the rising junior completed 10 of 18 passes for 72 yards.

"I go out and try to compete for the starting job," Allen said. "You never know what is going to happen, you never know when you'll need to be ready, and for me, I need to be ready all the time. I compete like I'm trying to be the starter."

This season, however, lends added importance to the No. 2 job.

Whoever comes out on top figures to have an edge in the quarterback derby of 2013 -- OU's first open competition at the position since Bradford beat out Keith Nichol and Joey Halzle two weeks before the 2007 season.

"(Allen and Bell) both understand clearer what we want them to do," Stoops said, "what their reads are, where to go with the football quicker."

With a howitzer for an arm and Tim Tebow-like power running prowess, Bell possesses more upside and potential. He whetted the appetite of Sooner Nation with his prolific appearances out of the Belldozer, which resulted in 13 rushing touchdowns, including three in the Insight Bowl. In the spring game, though, the 6-foot-6, now 260-pound Bell revealed he's capable of more than Belldozing smaller opponents.

"For the most part I think I came out and showed everyone I can throw and stuff like that," Bell said. "It felt good just to get out there. … read the defense and sling it around a little bit."

Allen, however, has a year up on Bell in the offense, and remains steadier in practices with his decision-making. Allen was officially the second quarterback last season, even though he played far less than Bell.

"I made a lot of strides this spring taking care of the ball," Allen said. "And that's huge for me, because I want the coaches to be able to trust me, so if something does happen I want to be able to be ready and for them to trust me, not be like, 'Oh no, we gotta go to this guy.'"

For now, it remains unclear who the Sooners will go to, should they need a No. 2 quarterback. And the spring revealed little about one of OU's biggest position battles.

"In our meetings, we know what we feel," Stoops said. "We're just not much on telling you guys."

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