Oklahoma's jerseys to feature names again, coach says

Updated: August 2, 2007, 11:47 PM ET
Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops provided the answer to the No. 2 question on the minds of Sooners fans Thursday night.

Bob Stoops
Brian Bahr/Getty ImagesSooners coach Bob Stoops, preparing his players for the Sugar Bowl against LSU in 2004, has reinstated names to players' jerseys after going a year without.
While he provided no clarity on who would emerge from a three-way competition to become the team's next starting quarterback, Stoops revealed that Oklahoma would return players' names to the back of their jerseys after going a year without.

"Bud Wilkinson's guys, they never had names on their jerseys. You know who was No. 35? Billy Vessels,'' Stoops said, citing one of Oklahoma's four Heisman Trophy winners and creating suspense. "No, we're putting them back.''

Even after he'd already told the crowd only that the next quarterback would be the one who performed the best in practice, that was still the first question he received from the audience at the Sooners' caravan event at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

The second inquiry was was about the jerseys, and his response brought cheers from the audience.

Still, Stoops told the crowd that he didn't understand why it had become such a hot topic among fans.

"Why did they put numbers on the jerseys? So you could identify the players, right?'' Stoops asked.

Stoops also reassured the crowd that the defending Big 12 champions would be able to carry on without tailback Adrian Peterson, who was the No. 7 overall pick in the NFL draft after three sensational seasons at Oklahoma.

We've played eight games the last two years without Adrian, and we're 8-0. So, we're just fine without him. I'd love to have him in those eight games, though.

-- Oklahoma's Bob Stoops,
on losing running back
Adrian Peterson to the NFL

"We've played eight games the last two years without Adrian, and we're 8-0. So, we're just fine without him,'' Stoops said. "I'd love to have him in those eight games, though.''

During the caravan, former Oklahoma defensive end Carl Pendleton received the Bobby Bowden Award from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Pendleton, who graduated in December, is skipping his senior season of football to take care of his 11-year-old stepbrother while going through graduate school.

"Carl Pendleton's the absolute best,'' Stoops said."He's everything you want in a student-athlete.''

Stoops said he was pleased with Oklahoma's first practice, which wrapped up before he came to the caravan.

"It was fabulous really. It was really exciting to see,'' Stoops said. "The guys, I just sense more confidence.''

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press