Sunday, February 9, 2014

Oklahoma's Blake Bell to switch from quarterback to tight end

According to Oklahoma Sooners head coach Bob Stoops, former starting quarterback Blake Bell, also known as the “Belldozer”, will be switching positions. Bell will close out his career in Norman playing the tight end position during his senior season.

"Even though he could graduate and go somewhere, he wants to finish out and try tight end," coach Stoops said. "I think it's a great fit. Blake has the size, the athleticism, the speed to do that, and he's exhibited his toughness through the years."

As a junior, Bell led the Sooners with 1,648 passing yards and 12 touchdown passes (five interceptions). He completed 60.1 percent of this throws and averaged 7.07 yards per attempt. He started eight games. Bell had some solid moments but was very inconsistent and he struggled in losses to Texas (46.2 percent, 0 TDs, 2 INTs) and Baylor (42.9 percent, 1 TD, 2 INTs).

Oklahoma finished the season strong with four straight wins including upsets at Kansas State and Oklahoma State, as well as a big bowl win over Alabama in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Bell attempted just 16 passes during their four-game winning streak, but in a relief role, he did lead the Sooners on the game-winning drive in Stillwater. Trailing 24-20, Bell connected with senior wide out Jalen Saunders from seven yards out for the game-winning score with 19 seconds remaining in the contest.

Despite his late-game heroics in the Bedlam rivalry, Stoops went back to Trevor Knight in the Sugar Bowl. The redshirt freshman responded with a career game, throwing for 348 yards and four touchdowns against the Crimson Tide, establishing himself as OU’s starting quarterback heading into the 2014 season.

It’s unclear if the Sooners will use Bell in short-yardage situations, which is where he flourished as a freshman and a sophomore. With a physical running style reminiscent of Tim Tebow, Bell scored 13 rushing touchdowns in 2011 and 11 more in 2012.

The move will give Bell a better chance to help the Sooners on the field in 2014, but it also leaves Oklahoma thin at the quarterback position behind Knight. Junior Kendall Thompson, the son of former OU star quarterback Charles Thompson, has decided to transfer.

That leaves redshirt freshman Cody Thomas and incoming true freshman Justice Hansen as Knight’s backups. Oklahoma has added Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year quarterback Bake Mayfield, who has transferred from Texas Tech, but he won’t be eligible to play until 2015.