Four QBs vie for starting job at Oklahoma State

Updated: March 20, 2006, 9:43 PM ET
Associated Press

STILLWATER, Okla. -- Oklahoma State opened its second spring football camp under coach Mike Gundy on Monday, with the task of choosing a starting quarterback still the team's primary concern.

Sophomore Bobby Reid, junior Al Pena, redshirt freshman Zac Robinson and freshman Alex Cate each took significant snaps and Gundy didn't provide any insight into which quarterback might have the edge.

Reid replaced Donovan Woods, who was 7-5 as a starter in 2004, as the Cowboys' starter in Week 3 last season but made only three starts before he was injured Oct. 8 against Missouri. Pena took over in Reid's absence, then yielded the role when Reid returned, only to be called on in relief in a 24-17 win against 13th-ranked Texas Tech and then the following week against Baylor.

Pena was the starter when Oklahoma State lost 42-14 in the Bedlam game against Oklahoma, while Reid stood on the sidelines in uniform.

Neither was particularly impressive -- Pena was 89-for-179 for 1,102 yards with eight TDs and 13 interceptions, while Reid threw for only 602 yards and two touchdowns on 52-for-108 passing with four interceptions -- and that leaves the door open for Robinson and Cate.

"Really you just have to come ready every day," Robinson said. "You can't take any play off."

Robinson realizes he has a chance to make his case this spring, but that doesn't mean he'll be rooting for any of his teammates to fail.

"You got to worry about yourself," he said. "They're going to make some plays and I'm going to make some plays."

A key component for any of the quarterbacks likely will be junior wide receiver Adarius Bowman. A transfer from North Carolina, Bowman is among the Cowboys most highly touted newcomers.

At his first practice, Bowman demonstrated ample playmaking ability in making several tough catches. After sitting out last season, a giddy Bowman couldn't contain his elation after practice.

"It feels good," Bowman said. "You see the smile on my face? It's taken a long time. I'm ready."

Bowman said he was pleased with his first practice at Oklahoma State, though he admitted it might take a while to get acclimated to the Cowboys' no-huddle offense.

As for the unsettled quarterback situation, he isn't concerned.

"I'm going to leave that up to the coaches," Bowman said.

Gundy complimented his players for having "great enthusiasm" in the opening practice and said one main focus of the spring sessions would be limiting mistakes such as penalties and turnovers that contributed to the Cowboys' 4-7 finish last season.

"If we limit the turnovers, you put yourself in a position to win two or three more games," Gundy said.

The second-year coach said he also will tweak his coaching style and take a more active role on the field during practice. He is trying to foster closer personal relationships with his players, which he has found can be difficult for a head coach to do.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press