Josh Heupel: Oklahoma's starting QB situation not a 'ploy'

Anniston StarDecember 30, 2013 

NEW ORLEANS -- Oklahoma co-offensive coordinator Josh Heupel says waiting to name a starter for the Sugar Bowl isn't a ploy to keep Alabama guessing.

The Sooners are holding off on selecting a starter to keep both players motivated.

"We've been this way throughout the entire year," Heupel said during his Monday news conference. "It's to keep -- our kids continue to push and find out who is going to practice the best, that typically tells you who is going to play the best. So when we get towards the end of the week that's when we'll know who our guy's going to be."

Still, Crimson Tide defensive coordinator Kirby Smart is making sure his unit is prepared for whatever or whomever the Sooners throw at them.

"Anytime you prepare for an offense, you have to be ready for the backup," Smart said. "With these guys, you really have three guys that have played. We've had to prepare for three quarterbacks."

Blake Bell and Trevor Knight are the only two players that have start, but Kendal Thompson has played in two games this season.

Bell started eight of the 12 regular season games with Knight leading the way in the other four.

Bell has thrown for 1,648 yards and 12 touchdowns to five interceptions while completing 60.4 percent of his passes. It was Bell who tossed the game winning touchdown to wide receiver Jalen Saunders against Oklahoma State that clinched an at-large BCS bowl bid for the Sooners.

Knight, who is recovering from a shoulder injury suffered against Oklahoma State, has 909 total yards and seven total touchdowns.

"The have all prepared well," Heupel said. "We're excited about the group we've got, the way they've competed, the way they've pushed each other, and then ultimately whoever is the guy needs to go out and perform well here in a couple of days to give ourselves a chance to win."

Smart said the Tide is prepared for whichever quarterback is in and that the players will have to recognize which signal caller is in the game.

"We've had enough time because of the amount of time between the games that you can prepare for both," Smart said. "The time allows us to have a plan for both guys. You'll find out during the game which one's playing better. They'll have one in there probably more than the other, depending on how they're playing."

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