Oklahoma's starting QB for Sugar Bowl still unknown

Anniston StarDecember 27, 2013 

NEW ORLEANS, La. -- Less than a week away from kicking off the Sugar Bowl, Alabama still doesn't know which quarterback it will face when Oklahoma takes the field in the SuperDome.

Both junior Blake Bell and redshirt freshman Trevor Knight have played significant snaps for the Sooners this season, but as of now, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops isn't showing his hand.

So, Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide are preparing for both.

"We have a lot of respect for both of their quarterbacks and what their abilities are," Saban said. "Both guys are capable of running their offense very efficiently and very effectively. … I don't think there's a whole lot of difference in terms of (the offense when one guy is in). I think their skillsets are little bit different in terms of one guy being a big, physical runner (Bell) and the other guy being not as big, but very athletic (Knight).

"I think the players have to be aware of the two styles that those guys have."

Knight started the team's final regular season game against Oklahoma State, but left with an injury. Bell led the Sooners on a fourth quarter comeback for a 33-24 victory.

Senior Bowl

Three Alabama players have accepted invitations to play in the Reese's Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. on Saturday, Jan. 25.

Linebacker C.J. Mosley, punter Cody Mandell and wide receiver Kevin Norwood will use the opportunity to showcase their talents for NFL scouts.

"I think the Senior Bowl is probably, of all the postseason all-star games, one that's most important to players in terms of their exposure because of the NFL's tie in with it and the coaches that coach it," Saban said. "Just about every team is represented there. It's also very important to us because it's in Mobile, in the state of Alabama. I think there's a lot of interest in Alabama football players, I'm talking about whatever school they go to in Alabama, to be involved in the game."

Mosley, a Mobile, Ala. native, said playing in the Senior Bowl has long been a dream of his.

"My main reason for accepting is because it's back in my hometown," Mosley said. "It's something I always watched growing up so it'll be an honor that it will be my last (collegiate) game."

The list didn't include another Mobile native in Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron.

"I don't know if I'm going to play in it," McCarron said. "I'm going to wait until after the bowl game to decide. Sit down and see what's best for me."

Team curfew

With a city like New Orleans, there are a ton of distractions.

Saban wouldn't give specifics on the team's rules and curfew, but noted that players need to be responsible when having fun.

"We came here to play a good football game. That has to be the No. 1 priority," Saban said. "You like for players to have a good time when they go to bowl games. It's certainly a reward for the season that they had. I also think it's imperative for guys to use good judgement in terms of how they represent themselves, their families, our team and the university."

Linebacker C.J. Mosley said the curfew for the first two nights will be 1 a.m. to allow players to enjoy the city, but that will change as the game gets closer. Mosley also said the message for younger guys is clear: if you get in trouble, you're going home. During last season's bowl trip, freshmen linebackers Dillon Lee and Ryan Anderson were sent home for missing curfew.

"We kind of use 2012 as an example because a lot of players from this year were on that team," Mosley said. "We just have to make sure everybody stays focused. The main thing is, when we get to practice, we focus on the right things and do what we've been doing all year."

Both Mosley and Norwood said all of the players are "grown men" and should know that consequences come with every mistake.

"It's up to them," Norwood said. "Only thing we can tell them is to be safe and make the right decisions and be smart about what you're doing."

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