Oklahoma, OK-State notch wins but QBs expose some flaws
Oklahoma State made another quarterback change and Oklahoma didn't, although it sure seemed like everyone wanted the Sooners to.
What's going on with the offenses around here?
Both OU and OSU won Saturday and both cloudied up the quarterback position more than it ever has been at any point in a season where it sure looked like there would be no quarterback controversy, issues or really any concerns at all.
As we get to the halfway point of the season there's an uneasiness surrounding both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State and the quarterback play is a major reason why.
Saturday didn't help.
Remember back to September when Cowboy quarterback Clint Chelf lasted all of two possessions before getting pulled against Mississippi State? The same guy who was magical as a third-teamer a season before, wasn't given much of a chance. He came in against TCU and threw an interception on his first throw. That kind of toss makes you think he might never get another chance, but this was the game starter J.W. Walsh got pulled.
"We felt like we needed a spark on offense, so we made a change," coach Mike Gundy told The Oklahoman after the 24-10 win.
And maybe that wasn't the best idea, either. Chelf played 42 minutes. OSU managed all of 12 first downs. Walsh looked comfortable and efficient in his 18 minutes, throwing a lot of downfield passes. The Cowboys made eight first downs while he was in the game. Chelf was 10-of-25 with the interception. Walsh was 9-of-18 with a pair of interceptions. Neither quarterback threw a touchdown pass. Neither quarterback looks like a desirable option at this point.
Neither Chelf or Walsh was made available after the game for interviews. Gundy wouldn't say what the plan was going forward or who would be the starter, either. Not exactly the kind of confidence you want going into a pair of road games at Iowa State and at Texas Tech.
But what's Gundy supposed to say? He has a pair of quarterbacks who have led OSU to a 5-1 record but also only an average of 18 points per game in conference play.
OU has just the one loss, and like OSU, is ranked in the top 20, featuring an offense that started slowly in Big 12 play and continued a plodding course against Kansas. OU has averaged 14 points per game in four Big 12 games. The Sooners scored on a reverse pass, needed a blocked punt, scored on a two-point conversion and also got enough out of Bell, but not enough that anyone really has any extended faith in him.
Oklahoma won 34-19 and Bell went 15-of-25 for 131 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, but the best pass of the game came from receiver LaColtan Bester, who took a pitch on a reverse and hit Sterling Shepard in stride for a 49-yard touchdown. In case you were wondering, Bester played quarterback in high school. He won't be in the mix at OU. That's still Trevor Knight, who we haven't seen, except for a series when Bell was hurt against Notre Dame, since week two. And we haven't heard from Kendal Thompson, although it seems he's the people's champ, despite never having played a down.
At OSU, we may see both quarterbacks the rest of the season. We won't at OU. The Sooners have gone from Knight to Bell in the first three weeks. A move back to Knight, or even to Thompson, would show some vulnerability and a lack of confidence in the quarterback. Expect Bell the rest of the way.
Expect lots of issues the rest of the way, too. Bell is not the passer Landry Jones was, and while he can run better, he's not the true dual-threat quarterback folks expected.
Nothing really has been expected at quarterback this season.
Follow Andrew Gilman on Twitter: @andrewgilmanOK