NORMAN — Bob Stoops went ahead and made it official Tuesday: Blake Bell will be Oklahoma's second-team quarterback when the season opens on Sept. 1 at UTEP.
After the sophomore's superior performance in the spring game, loads of praise from coaches and teammates through fall camp and reports of strong scrimmage showings, he earned the nod over junior Drew Allen to be senior Landry Jones' backup.
“Drew has done a real good job and made great improvement,” Stoops said. “I just feel Blake has been more consistent overall and playing the way we need him to.”
Bell's elevation to No. 2 on the depth chart also makes him heir apparent to the Sooners' starting quarterback job in 2013, when Jones will be gone.
Bell pummeled his way into the end zone 13 times — and into fans' hearts — over the Sooners' final six games in 2011 out of the short-yardage package that became known as the “Belldozer.”
That role became especially vital after Ryan Broyles' season-ending ACL tear in the fifth-to-last game; after that, Bell rushed for 11 of the 14 touchdowns Oklahoma scored the rest of the season.
Despite that, Allen remained the official second-team quarterback in 2011, and likely would've stepped in had Jones been injured.
“He'll still continue to battle,” Stoops said of Allen. “He's had a great attitude and continues to work really hard. We'll just take it from there as we go through the year.”
Bell (6-foot-6, 254 pounds) was a five-star prospect from Bishop Carroll High School in Wichita, Kan.
“He earned it,” Jones said. “The best players are going to play regardless of age and regardless of what's going on. A great job for Blake, and I'm excited for him and excited to see him do some of the things that he likes to do.”
Despite Bell's production being exclusively as a runner last season, coaches have insisted that his arm is strong and his accuracy has continued to improve.
He showed off his passing acumen in April's spring game, when he completed 14 of 19 passes for 179 yards and a touchdown to outshine Allen, who finished with 72 yards on 10-of-18 passing.