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The Morning After

We've had our fun with the jokes and the snickering, but now it's time for a more critical assessment of what this means for Texas, OU, and the Big 12 in general.

Brett, Rhett... whatever. It's a problem for OU.

One thing's for certain - new offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson will be earning his paycheck this fall. The Sooner staff must decide whether to throw sophomore Joey Halzle into the fire, or go with senior Paul Thompson, a former quarterback who was converted to wide receiver.

While Halzle was listed as Bomar's backup heading into this season, that had more to do with the desire to get the athletic Thompson on the field in some capacity. With Bomar now gone forever, and fall practice set to begin in just days, Thompson will certainly be asked to switch back to quarterback.

We don't know who the coaches prefer, though Thompson's career passing stats aren't half as bad as his reputation as a mediocre thrower. (He's completed 42 of 73 passes, 57.5%, with 4 TDs against 3 INTs.) He brings an ability to run in his skill set, which leads me to believe that Walker and company will give Thompson a shot to be the guy this year. The offense will have to be creative, but I think that's something that Wilson's generally well-suited to do. Don't be surprised if Wilson has Thompson and Peterson running a version of the zone read that Texas and Vince Young perfected.

For Texas, it's a blessing in that the advantage the Sooners had - a returning starting quarterback - is effectively neutered. The teams are now matched evenly in that department heading into fall practice. While this is definitely a setback to the Sooners, a Longhorn victory is hardly guaranteed, and we should be especially mindful that this is not the same thing as losing, say, Adrian Peterson. Had that been the case, we could have begun writing our Sooner eulogies for Dallas. But not yet. Paul Thompson or Joey Halzle still could wind up more ready for big time college football than Colt McCoy or Jevan Snead.

Still, we?d be remiss not to point out the other Sooner dismissed, projected starting guard J.D. Quinn. When one considers that the offensive line was the one area where many Sooner critics felt they were most vulnerable, this additional loss may be just as important.

All told, the Sooners have clearly lost whatever momentum they'd picked up over the spring and summer, and the amount of work they'll have to do to get ready for the season is daunting. What's strangest of all, though, is that with Bomar's departure, the Big 12 faces an almost unprecedented turnover in quarterbacks. New signal callers will be taking the field all across the Big 12, making Texas' glaring weakness that much easier to overcome.

The path to the Big 12 title game is never easy, but OU certainly didn't do themselves any favors. Texas, one must now assume, returns as favorites to capture the Big 12 south.