Blake Bell is Oklahoma’s running threat at the quarterback position in 2012. But don’t confuse what Bell is doing now with what Bell will be doing in 2013, should he become OU’s starting quarterback.
Bell is synonymous with the Belldozer, but make no mistake, he’s at Oklahoma to be a throwing quarterback.
One of these days anyway.
“Whenever I get out there, I like to throw too,” says Bell. “It’s not like I just want to run. Shoot, in high school I threw the ball 40 or 50 times a game and I loved doing it.”
Don’t pigeon-hole Bell as Tim Tebow either. even though Bell admits defenses sometimes shout ‘Tebow package’ when he comes into the game.
Bell won the backup quarterback job coming out of fall camp, not as some ruse to convince opposing defenses he could throw the ball, but because he actually has the type of throwing ability to become a star quarterback in Norman.
“I don’t think it’s going to be like that at all,” answered Bell when asked if fans think he’ll just run the Belldozer full-time next season should he be OU’s starting quarterback. “I don’t know how much your body can hold up if you just get out there and run the ball every time out there.”
According to other players on the team, Bell’s teammates don’t even refer to him as ‘The Belldozer’. They still see him as a true quarterback.
That’s something Bell was allowed to do late in the game against Texas last Saturday. Bell came in and ran the Landry Jones style offense. He threw the ball down the field to Lacoltan Bester. He handed the ball off to running back Brennan Clay.
Heck, when OU got in the redzone with Bell at quarterback, they didn’t even run the Belldozer. They just let Bell hand it off to Clay for the touchdown.
“It was awesome,” said Bell of the backup quarterback experience against Texas. “Just getting out there and doing a little something different, just reading the defense and being able to sling it around a little bit.”
Bell is two different quarterbacks at Oklahoma. He’s the touchdown scoring machine known as theĀ Belldozer. But he’s also the backup quarterback to starting QB Jones.
Right now, you get the sense Bell takes more pride in developing himself as a backup quarterback, than being the guy who gets to celebrate touchdowns in the endzone.
Bell was asked Tuesday about his favorite OU running quarterbacks of the past. He said he didn’t know any of them.
It was almost Bell’s way of saying, ‘I’m not here to be one of those guys.’
Bell isn’t completely shying away from his ability to run with the football. He does think his running ability can add something to the quarterback position that hasn’t been seen in the Bob Stoops era.
“That’s another thing I kind of like doing,” said Bell about running the football. “You see all these great quarterbacks come through here like coach Heupel and Landry and Sam Bradford. All those guys were throwing it. I kind of like to get out of the pocket if a play does break down and maybe run so you have that option too.”
Bell isn’t thinking Michael Vick or Vince Young though. He’s not even really thinking Cam Newton.
He sees himself more like another escape artist in the NFL.
“I’ve always looked at Big Ben (Roethlisberger) and I like how he moves and gets out of the pocket and extends plays and stuff like that,” said Bell. “I’d probably say (I compare myself to) a guy like that. He just gets out there and make plays.”
Bell is making plays. But he’s also concentrating on making plays as a true quarterback for the Sooners.
As we found out in 2009, when Jones career began after Sam Bradford suffered a separated shoulder in the season opener, the backup is just one play away at any time. Bell is working hard behind the scenes to be ready if something did happen to Jones.
“It all just starts in the meeting room and when Landry’s out there you just watch what call they’re making and seeing the defense,” he said. “Really, it all just starts from the film room and recognizing what the defense is doing because you never know when your number is going to be called and you’ve got to be ready at all times.”
Bell says his elevation to the backup quarterback does signal progress as a throwing quarterback at Oklahoma.
“Just learning from a guy like Landry, he just knows the game so well and knows how to read defense and knows where to go with the football and where he’s hot and stuff like that,” Bell said. “Just seeing it every day, after a while it gets a lot better.”
Bell will continue to play his role as a touchdown scoring machine. Landry Jones will continue playing his role as the guy who watches Bell take away touchdowns from his stat sheet.
But even though Jones has admitted it can be tough giving over the reins of the offense to Bell. The Belldozer is even more envious of Jones’ role.
Jones is the quarterback Bell truly wants to prove he can become at Oklahoma.