Sooners switching Thompson from QB to WR
NORMAN, Okla. -- Tired of waiting for another chance at quarterback for Oklahoma, Paul Thompson is moving to wide receiver.
The fourth-year junior who beat out redshirt freshman Rhett Bomar to become Oklahoma's starter at the beginning of the season hasn't seen any playing time since Bomar became the starter two weeks ago.
"I didn't want to sit around anymore," Thompson said after practice Monday night. "I don't want to just be sitting around. I'd like to be on the field somehow."
Coach Bob Stoops said Thompson will remain the backup quarterback for the Sooners (1-2), who are off to their worst start since 1999 after consecutive appearances in the BCS title game. He was the backup to Nate Hybl in Oklahoma's 2002 Rose Bowl season, then waited behind Jason White for two years.
It appeared Thompson would finally get his chance to start when he won the job before the season opener against TCU. He had 109 yards on 11-for-26 passing as the Sooners lost 17-10.
Stoops switched to Bomar, and Thompson remained on the sidelines as Bomar passed for only 42 yards in his debut against Tulsa in Week 2 and didn't throw a pass in the second half. Bomar fumbled four times in Oklahoma's 41-24 loss to UCLA on Saturday, but coaches still didn't call on Thompson.
"Anybody that works hard and puts time and effort and dedication toward something and doesn't seem like they're getting anywhere, it's frustrating at times," Thompson said.
"At the same time, the coaches understand that. It's nothing against the coaches. They're working with 100 kids out here -- 100 grown men, actually -- and it's not like I'm the only one that's been in this position."
When White returned for a sixth season after winning the 2003 Heisman Trophy, Thompson took a redshirt last season.
"This is my fourth year. I've got to get out on the field," Thompson said. "I've got to make some plays."
Thompson, who played some wide receiver his freshman and sophomore years at Leander High School in Texas, said he is willing to put in extra time before and after practice if need be.
Offensive coordinator Chuck Long said Thompson will still get the same number of practice repetitions at quarterback, and will add the time at receiver on top of that. Long said Thompson won't have to spend extra time watching film because the quarterbacks and receivers generally watch the same tape.
"As a quarterback, he's got to know all the routes. As a receiver, you just have to know that one route. So, he knows the routes," Long said. "It's just a matter of learning the physical nuances of running a route. But mentally, that's going to be pretty easy for him. He knows what to do."
Thompson said he was more nervous about his first practice as a receiver Monday than he was for his first start at quarterback.
"I wanted to make a good impression and come out here and be successful," Thompson said.
The Sooners have a bye this week before playing Kansas State in their Big 12 opener on Oct. 1.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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