Tramel's ScissorTales: OU finds a backup quarterback in Davis Beville; now it's Oklahoma State's turn
Davis Beville threw 32 passes for the University of Pittsburgh. The first 14 don’t count for much. He was the Panthers’ third-team quarterback in 2020 and 2021; Beville’s play came in mop-up duty.
But Beville’s final 18 passes are different. They came in the Peach Bowl against Michigan State. Star quarterback Kenny Pickett sat out the bowl game. Backup Nick Patti drove the Panthers to a first-quarter touchdown, even scored it himself, but it came at a cost. A broken collarbone.
Enter Beville, who quarterbacked the Panthers the rest of the way. Pitt trailed 24-21 late in the game, but Beville took the Panthers 54 yards on five completions, reaching the Michigan State 26-yard line with 36 seconds left. Alas, Beville’s next pass was intercepted by Spartan linebacker Cal Haladay, who returned it 78 yards for a touchdown. Thus the Peach Bowl went to Michigan State, 31-21.
But that Peach Bowl helped Beville become a Sooner.
Beville announced Monday he was transferring to OU, where he hopes (and Brent Venables’ staff hopes, apparently) to become Dillon Gabriel’s backup.
OU apparently pursued Gerry Bohanon, Baylor’s 2021 starter who entered the transfer portal after Bears coach Dave Aranda classily informed Bohanon that Blake Shapen would be the starter going forward.
Bohanon reportedly expressed interest in OU, but over the weekend, he picked South Florida. It came down to this decision: Did Bohanon want to be a Sooner backup, who would play if Gabriel suffered an injury, or be a starter at a lower-level program?
There are no right or wrong answers. No honor/dishonor discussion. Just a personal preference. So the Sooners moved on to Beville, and here he came.
“Betting on myself! Boomer!” Beville tweeted.
OU needed a backup because the quarterback room is woefully inexperienced behind Gabriel, who was a three-year starter at Central Florida (counting one injury-shortened season). Behind Gabriel in the spring were early-entry freshman Nick Evers, non-scholarship players Ralph Rucker and Ben Harris, and Penn State transfer Micah Bowens, who was beaten out by Rucker last season for third-team QB.
Suffice to say Venables didn’t feel comfortable beating Nebraska or the Big 12 slate with Evers, Rucker or Bowens.
Now, another question. Is it OSU’s turn? The Cowboys have a near-identical quarterback situation to what the Sooners faced. A veteran, experienced playmaker in Spencer Sanders. An early-entry true freshman in Garret Rangel. Non-scholarship Gunnar Gundy. And that’s it, after non-scholarship Peyton Thompson entered the transfer portal last week.
Seems imperative for the Cowboys to add a quarterback to the roster. A transfer-portal QB would be ideal. A player, like Beville, who knows the competition is closed, but also knows he could be a sprained ankle away from quarterbacking a really good team at a program coming off a Fiesta Bowl victory over Notre Dame.
But those guys aren’t easy to find. Everyone wants to play. Few are the quarterbacks who would rather ride the bench at a Power 5 school than play at a mid-major.
And when you find them, do you want them? Let’s not pretend that Beville is a messiah. He was a three-star recruit out of Greenville, South Carolina, and was the jewel of Pitt’s 2019 recruiting class. But Beville redshirted his first year, then played sparingly before the Peach Bowl, where his numbers were solid – 14-of-18 passing for 149 yards, one touchdown and the game-sealing interception.
Had he stayed at Pitt, Beville was headed to another year as a third-teamer. Patti remains a Panther, and Kedon Slovis transferred from Southern Cal and is expected to quarterback Pittsburgh.
OU resorting to Pitt’s third-team quarterback is not any kind of Sooner master plan, but that’s the state of quarterback rooms across America, with the transfer-portal explosion.
Hundreds of quarterbacks entered the transfer portal since the end of last season, and 50 remain uncommitted, according to 247sports.com’s database. Of those 50, only a few have much experience.
Jack Abraham threw for more than 7,000 yards at Southern Mississippi, with 41 touchdowns and 29 interceptions, then transferred to Mississippi State last season and didn’t play.
Baylor Romney was a good backup at Brigham Young but after entering the portal announced that he’s retiring from football.
James Graham started for Georgia Tech in 2019, though he completed just 45% of his passes, and eventually transferred to Georgia Southern and moved to wide receiver.
Luke Anthony threw for 1,479 yards and 16 touchdowns at Louisiana Tech in 2020.
Jonah Johnson completed 58.5% of his passes last season at New Mexico State, for 2,705 yards, 11 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
A variety of quarterbacks remain in the portal who have played some spot duty: Carson Baker, late of Western Kentucky but who played at San Diego State in 2020; Jordan Weeks at Texas-San Antonio; Taisun Phommachanh at Clemson; Jack Sears at Boise State, who began his career at Southern Cal; Andrew Brito, who played quite a bit at Massachusetts in 2019 but then transferred to Central Florida; Jeremy Hunt at Louisiana-Monroe; Kaylan Wiggins at Florida International; Kamal Gray at Temple; Micah Leon at Connecticut; A.J. Mayer at Miami-Ohio; and Justin Rogers at Nevada-Las Vegas.
Are any of those quarterbacks an upgrade over Rangel or Gundy in Stillwater? Maybe not. Probably not.
But they’ve taken snaps. They’re a warm body. And they’re available, with landing spots decreasing by the day.
Grizzlies finally remember Adams
The Memphis Grizzlies were desperate for a basket. So coach Taylor Jenkins inserted Steven Adams. Heck, the Grizzlies were desperate for a victory Monday night, which is why Jenkins returned Adams to the starting lineup.
But with 25 seconds left in the game, Memphis trailed Golden State by three points, so back in went Adams, after a down-the-stretch hiatus.
Adams did what Adams does. He bulldozed the Warriors’ Otto Porter, clearing space like Jerry Kramer and Fuzzy Thurston on a Green Bay Packer power sweep, and Dillon Brooks zipped in for a layup.
Back out went Adams, and when he returned, the Warriors had a four-point lead and the game secured. Golden State won 101-98. But Memphis had a consolation prize. It rediscovered the 7-foot center who was a longtime Thunder favorite.
Adams played 27 minutes in Game 4, and Memphis outscored the Warriors by 13 points during that time. In the other 21 minutes, Golden State had a 16-point edge.
Adams rebounded like a madman (he always does), with 15. He made five of nine shots to score 10 points. And while yes, his defense is problematic since Golden State doesn’t play a true center and Adams occasionally gets caught guarding the likes of Steph Curry or Jordan Poole, he also has a ton of experience guarding the pick-and-roll with the season on the line.
The Grizzlies had forgotten about Adams after he was torched in Game 1 of the previous series, against Minnesota. I don’t know why. He’s bigger than a breadbox. He’s hard to miss.
The games are hard to miss, too. Memphis coaches apparently were watching when Adams helped transform the Grizzlies into a Western Conference contender.
But Adams went into witness protection after the Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns had a monster Game 1, and the Grizzlies seemed content to play out the Western Conference semifinals without him.
Adams played only the first 2:50 of Game 2 against Minnesota, was benched, and played only 3:41 of Game 4. Before Game 7, Adams entered COVID protocols, and didn’t come off until Game 3 of the Golden State series. So over a seven-game span, Adams played just 6½ minutes.
And when Jenkins used Adams in Game 3 against Golden State, it was only in the final 5½ minutes of a blowout.
Then star point guard Ja Morant was sidelined for the pivotal Game 4 Monday night, and Jenkins turned desperate. He started Adams.
The move worked famously for the Grizzlies. Adams went about his destructive ways.
“Yeah, just ready for a change,” Jenkins said. “He's been working hard to get back. I felt like this was the time to do it. His experience, his force that he plays with, he was great tonight, rebounding, setting screens, rolling, executing the defensive coverages. Was really impressed with Steven tonight.”
Full disclosure: I’m impressed with Stone Cold every night. He’s a winning ballplayer.
Which is why a bunch of national media have been beating the Adams drum since early in the Minnesota series. OK, so maybe Adams is not a good Memphis matchup against Towns. But why not play Adams when Towns was on the bench?
Adams’ value was apparent Monday night. Memphis scored 16 seconds into the game, then led the entire game until Curry’s two foul shots with 45 seconds left.
Memphis led 82-76 when Jenkins subbed out Adams with 7:55 left. Adams sat 7½ minutes, during which the Grizzlies were outscored 20-11, making just four of 11 shots and committing three turnovers.
The Grizzlies’ performance against Golden State on Monday night was unexpected. Without Morant, Memphis seemed sunk.
But during the regular season, the Grizzlies went 20-4 without Morant.
“The coaching staff and Taylor has done a really good job with the system,” Adams said. “We've seen it throughout the years, you can insert players, take players out, and the system itself is very efficient. Obviously it's a big piece, Ja is a big piece. But again, the players are ready. They're not doing something that they're not used to, that they're uncomfortable doing. Everyone is doing what they want to do and comfortable doing, covering for each other.
“That's pretty much it, man. Everyone wants to win. We're hella competitors in there. We've been showing it all year, and nothing changes like that, brother.”
Nothing changes when Adams plays. Memphis is a good team. It’s not such a powerhouse it can afford the luxury of sitting out Steven Adams.
Jalen Rose started a national name trend
On a podcast the other day, someone mentioned that Jalen Rose takes credit for the popularity of his first name. I was a little skeptical.
I mean, Jalen Rose became a big deal 30 years ago, riding shotgun with Chris Webber as part of Michigan’s Fab Five. Rose remains a big deal all these decades, as part of ESPN’s main NBA studio panel.
But the idea that Rose’s name begat a run on the name of “Jalen”? Surely that’s not true.
But maybe it is. I did some research.
Ten players named Jalen have played in the NBA. Nine of the 10 arrived since 2018 – Jalen Brunson, Jalen Green, Jalen Suggs, Jalen McDaniels, Jalen Smith, Jalen Jones, Jalen Harris, Jalen Johnson, Jalen Lacque.
Of the 10, only Jalen Rose was before 2018.
Ten men named Jalen have played in the NFL. All arrived in 2016 or later, Jalen Ramsey and Jalen Hurts among them.
In Major League Baseball history, only one Jalen has appeared in a game. Jalen Beeks, debuting in 2018.
In National Hockey League history, only one Jalen has appeared in a game, Jalen Chatfield, debuting in 2021.
College sports is a much tougher database to decipher. But we have some help – sports-reference.com has all kinds of players going back decades and decades.
On the college basketball side, sports-reference.com has 145 players named Jalen, and Jalen Rose is the only 20th-century player among the 145.
Maybe sports-reference.com doesn’t have all the players on file. Almost surely sports-reference.com doesn’t have all the players on file. But it has thousands and thousands.
I ran a search for Mel Workman, who averaged 4.8 points a game over three seasons for Abe Lemons’ Oklahoma City Chiefs in the 1960s. Mel Workman is in the database.
On sports-reference.com’s football side, 225 players named Jalen are listed. All from the 2000s and virtually all of them from the 2010s. The earliest I found was Toledo tailback Jalen Parmele, who was a Rocket from 2004-07. Parmele was born in 1985, when Rose was 12 years old. I assume Parmele’s parents hadn’t heard of a 12-year-old Jalen Rose. But Parmele is from Midland, Michigan; Rose grew up in Detroit. Just saying.
Babynames.com ranks Jalen as the 515th-most popular boys name in America. That’s actually not obscure. Lots of kids are born. Babynames.com also says that the name Jalen “was popularized and influenced by American basketball player Jalen Rose. His name was a combination of his father’s name, James, and his uncle, Leonard.
ESPN did a story on Rose’s name a year ago and reported that in 1992, when the Fab Five rose to fame, Jalen first cracked the list of the 1,000 most popular names, debuting at No. 378. A year later, it jumped to No. 216.
While we have no idea if Rose’s mother invented the name, the evidence is overwhelming. Jalen Rose ignited the popularity of the name Jalen.
Mailbag: Rick Dawson’s Derby win
The remarkable Kentucky Derby victory of longshot Rich Strike, owned by Rick Dawson of Edmond, stoked interest from a variety of Oklahomans.
Jeff: “If they still have it, Rick Dawson should be Oklahoma Sportsman of the Year and should be given serious consideration for the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.”
Tramel: I’m not sure to which award Jeff is referring; maybe the old Headliner of the Year? Anyway, not important. The Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame absolutely is going great guns.
So the question is, should Dawson be a candidate?
I tend to be skeptical. For non-participants – athletes, coaches, etc. -- I would want a longer-lasting impact than one Saturday in May.
Bobby Ussery is not in the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. Ussery rode Proud Clarion to victory in the 1967 Kentucky Derby. Ussery, from Vian, retired in 1974 with 3,611 race wins. In 1980, Ussery was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.
Seems like Ussery should be an automatic for the Oklahoma Sports Hall Fame and at least go in before Dawson.
Dawson’s story is fantastic. He’s sort of into horses but not totally. He bought Rich Strike for $30,000 at a claiming race in 2021, and a variety of things happened, some last minute, and Rich Strike was awarded a Derby berth on Friday. About 32 hours later, Rich Strike ran one of the great races of all time and won a Derby for the ages.
Does that mean the horse’s owner is Hall of Fame worthy? Seems unlikely to me.
The List: Major PGA Championship changes
The PGA Championship comes to Tulsa’s Southern Hills next week, and the PGA is the most mercurial of golf’s four majors. Here are five profound changes to the PGA over the years:
1. Match play scrapped, 1958: The PGA was a match-play tournament for decades, but the television networks much preferred stroke play, and after the 1957 PGA lost money, the organization voted to accommodate television. Dow Finsterwald won the first stroke-play PGA, beating Billy Casper by two shots at Llanerch in Haverstown, Pennsylvania.
2. Avoiding the British Open, 1965: For much of the 1950s and 1960s, the PGA was contested only a week apart from the British Open, making it virtually impossible for a golfer to compete in both events. But the PGA moved to August in 1965, eventually anchored in that month and solidified golf as a four-major sport, since players didn’t have to choose.
3. Hail the pros, 1916: Golf, mirroring the Olympic movement, was the haven of amateurs. The PGA Championship was established to provide a high-profile tournament specifically for the professionals during a time they were not held in high esteem. England’s Jim Barnes beat Scotland’s Jock Hutchison 1-up in the first title match, at Siwanoy in Bronxville, New York.
4. May Day, 2019: The PGA moved its tournament to May, for marketing purposes, giving the four majors a month to themselves, consecutively. The move was expected to improve television ratings. But the real benefit has been the weather. Particularly in the South and Southwest, May weather is much better than the broilers of August. Fans in Tulsa will experience the difference next week.
5. Teaching pros, 1968: The PGA Tour and the PGA of America split as organizations in 1968, and the PGA of America created the PGA Club Professional Championship (“Club” has since been deleted), for teaching pros. The top 20 (originally 25) finishers in the tournament qualify for the PGA Championship.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at 405-760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. Support his work and that of other Oklahoman journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.