NORMAN — Blake Bell's opportunities to demonstrate his passing ability for Oklahoma fans have been few and far between.
Despite 24 rushing touchdowns and the cult-hero status he's earned over the last two seasons, whether Bell can effectively and consistently lead the full Sooner offense remains to be seen.
“He's ready to show that he's a full-fledged quarterback; he's not just a Belldozer,” said Sherry Bell, Blake's mother. “The only way you can do that is to go out there and show people. I know Blake's a competitor, and I think that's what people are gonna love about him.”
Almost exactly one year ago, Blake Bell completed 14 of 19 pass attempts for 179 yards — including an impressive 60-yard touchdown pass off his back foot — in Oklahoma's 2012 spring football game, a performance which helped him beat Drew Allen in the competition to be Landry Jones' backup last season.
The junior will likely need a similar showing Saturday afternoon, when Oklahoma holds its 2013 spring game on Owen Field. Bell is battling sophomore Kendal Thompson and redshirt freshman Trevor Knight to be the Sooners' starting quarterback.
Entering his fourth season on campus, Bell holds the experience edge, in terms of time in the program and game opportunities. Still, most of Bell's game moments have come out of the short-yardage Belldozer package, in which he'd enter the game, take a shotgun snap and plow ahead for first downs and touchdowns.
Last season, Bell attempted just 16 passes, five of which came in a 69-13 rout of hapless Florida A&M. The most important game pass Bell has thrown came as a surprise out of the Belldozer.
Down by six points in an eventual loss to Notre Dame, Bell entered the game on fourth-and-2 at the Irish's 9-yard line and completed a crucial first-down pass to fullback Trey Millard.
“It's all about moments, and he's had some great ones in the Belldozer package, but this is a whole nother deal,” said Mark Bell, Blake's dad and a former NFL player.