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Wednesday, June 9, 2010
OU's Drew Allen prepared to replace

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

ESPN's College Football Live named Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones a Big 12 representative as one of the nation's most irreplaceable players. Here's a story about his backup, Drew Allen. Tune into College Football Live at 3:30 p.m. ET to see more on Jones and Allen.

Bob Stoops doesn't have to imagine what it would be like to lose his starting quarterback for the season. That scenario became all too real when Heisman winner Sam Bradford was slammed into the Cowboys Stadium turf in the opener last season. He rolled over, immediately clutched his throwing shoulder in pain, and Oklahoma's season dramatically altered its course.

Been there, done that. Got five losses.

But before that -- the injuries, the losses, the growing pains -- there was a position battle of an importance few envisioned.

Sitting behind Bradford, Jones and Allen didn't expect to play, but they fought for the backup spot.

"They were both awfully young and still learning," said Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops.

The rest of the story is well-told. Jones, with a redshirt year already behind him, won the backup battle. Allen, a true freshman, redshirted. Jones played -- and played well -- after Bradford went down.

So 2010 begins with Jones possessing a Bradford-like choke hold on the starting job. But if he falls to a fate similar to Bradford?

"I’d have to feel great, since that’s where we’re at. Just like I did a year ago," Stoops said. "But hopefully that scenario, we don’t have to do that again."

Allen came to Oklahoma via San Antonio's Alamo Heights High as the nation's No. 58 quarterback, and Stoops said yes to his impressive measureables.

"He’s similar to the style of guy we’re used to working with. He’s a big guy, has a good arm. He works really hard," Stoops said.

At 6-foot-5 and 224 pounds, Allen is built from the mold of the prototype quarterback. But there's still that nagging detail: He's never thrown a pass in a college football game. A year ago, neither had Jones.

Allen struggled in the rain during the Sooners' spring game, completing just 10 of 22 passes for 137 yards and a pair of interceptions. Stoops prefers to reserve his judgments for the Drew Allen he sees in practice every day.

"Like most guys that haven't played a ton, [he has to improve] decision making through experience and continue to improve accuracy. But he’s working hard on it," Stoops said. "I feel really good that he’s a guy that’s worked as hard as he can, and he’ll do a good job."