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Dean's Blog: Mayfield & His Type-A Get First Crack

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MAYFIELD’S EXPLOSIVE PLAY POTENTIAL BIG REASON FOR GETTING NOD

Baker Mayfield brings a list of assets to the table as OU’s starting QB in 2015. He’s got the liveliest arm, is the most natural thrower, is most comfortable in and best equipped to operate in the new Air Raid offense, and is mobile – much more so, says Bob Stoops, than people might think.

Mayfield will lead the Sooners' new up-tempo, spread scheme masterminded by first-year offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley. While the biggest factor in his success will be limiting gunslinger throws that are prone to interception, I believe it’s the explosiveness from the junior that won him the job. And not a running explosiveness.

This day and age college football teams have to score then score then score some more. Explosive plays (plays of 20 yards or longer) are routine on championship-caliber teams. Last season OU struggled mightily in this category. More times than not, explosive plays came when the ball was handed to the Phluggerville Flash, Samaje Perine. But against great defenses OU must begin beating again, explosive runs are drastically limited. Speed. Baker Mayfield has the capacity to deliver explosive plays on a more consistent basis which will provide the balance that will give No. 32 and Joe Mixon more opportunities to take it the distance.

MAYFIELD’S GOT MOXIE, MOMENTUM AND MOTIVATION

Mayfield is two-for-two in competition for the starting job. At Tech where he became the first walk-on true freshman in NCAA history to start a season opener. Now at OU, after being ineligible last season, he wins the job in 2015.

Today’s announcement was expected. I haven’t waivered in my belief that Mayfield was the guy since hearing how Week 1 of spring ball began. And you might recall, I emphasized last week that coaches had told me that “We have a firm understanding of where things stand and where they are headed. Based on hearing the exact same thing on three separate occasions along with what I knew about where the competition stood, it was clear that barring something unexpected, Mayfield was the guy.

BAKER TO BUCK TREND OF STOOPS AND HIS TYPE B QBs

Newly-named OU starting QB Baker Mayfield is a different breed of cat. Particularly when you compare his personality and temperament to the majority of the previous starters under Bob Stoops.

Starting with 1999-2000 starter Josh Heupel though 2014 first-game starter Trevor Knight, Stoops has mostly had QBs who led by example, played and dealt with the media in a controlled manner and were more Type-B  versus Type-A personalities – Type B defined as personalities who tend to be calm and easygoing.

The Stoops list of first game starters includes Heupel, Nate Hybl, Jason White, (Rhett Bomar, who was a Type A and was booted), Paul Thompson, Sam Bradford, Landry Jones and Knight. Most all, quality young men at OU and afterwards, popular with mates and winners.  They tended to be more laid back than, say,  Johnny Manziel – a Type A, who was as unpredictable and unstoppable off the field as he was on it. It wouldn’t have surprised anyone if Manziel led his Aggies on Kyle Field before the game and proceeded on a dare from a pretty blonde to shimmy the American flagpole and flash the signature money sign. Can’t see Heupel, or Sammy B doing that. Of course for the most part, Manziel and his Type A personality were put to good use and found remarkable success. It’s not that QBs must be Type Bs to be successful, it’s just that there have been more, great Type As. And the QBs in the Stoops Era follow that trend. 

One NFL study shows the majority of pro quarterbacks have been Type B, although a good number of Type As have been very successful. All QBs are driven, competitive and can lead. But the results show the calm, cool, collected signal callers have overall had more success.

Sooner fans will probably enjoy having a quarterback who does things like what Mayfield did last year when a dance in front of teammates went viral – especially if he completes passes and wins games. Frankly, fans seem ready for a change to revitalize their heroes and their offense. 

TREVOR FINDS IT HARD TO SWIM UPSTREAM

Frankly, Trevor Knight was swimming upstream from the start. Off of last year’s five-loss debacle and several devastating (if anything in football really is devastating, other than serious injuries) interceptions, the mood was ripe for change. It was going to take a Herculean effort on Knight’s part – assuming Mayfield would continue to improve from his impressive scout team QB play – for the junior transfer to not get first shot. The formula was simple. Fire the old offensive coordinator and punt the old scheme(s), hire a new OC, install a new offense – which happened to be one that the next guy up (Mayfield) had not only run with success in college, but he’d done so at Texas Tech, where the new OC played and coached under King Daddy Leach. And, there was already a history between Mayfield and the new OC. Look at one of two ways. It was either meant to be for Mayfield, or it wasn’t meant to be (for now, at least) for Knight.

STOOPS SAYS

It's been a very tight battle among those three guys," coach Bob Stoops said in a statement. "Baker, Trevor (Knight) and Cody (Thomas) have all made substantial progress, and I feel we can win with any of them.”

Although OU fans hope and need Mayfield to take every meaningful snap this season, the odds are against it. So Knight and Thomas must – and no doubt will – be ready to take over at any minute. One need look no further than the crazy route Mayfield took to the starter’s role than to see that in college football, anything can happen.

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