After a 31-14 Insight Bowl win over Iowa to end the 2011 season, Sooners coach Bob Stoops wasn't exactly thrilled with the choice of Blake Bell as the game's Offensive Most Valuable Player.
“I was shocked,” Stoops said then. “I said, ‘What?' Geez, the guy played nine plays.”
Bell played a few more than nine plays, but not many. Stoops' objection then was because Bell only came on after Landry Jones had led the offense down the field.
Now, though, Stoops points to experience like that helping Bell on Saturday when he makes his first career start.
“He's been in a lot of big moments for two years and a lot of important plays and been hit. Unlike some other guys with their first start, I think he'll be more apt to adjust to it quicker.”
PASSING TROUBLES NOT ALL ON QBS
Although Trevor Knight struggled to connect on his passes before being replaced by Bell late in the win over West Virginia, Stoops said most of the blame for the struggles in the passing game goes to factors other than Knight.
“The outside world doesn't see it — at least half to 60 percent of what hasn't been great isn't on the quarterback,” Stoops said. “The receivers dropped four balls in the first game and we couldn't execute a screen and on and on.
“Some of the protections were really poor in our play-action game where we had guys open and he's moving around and couldn't settle and throw. People don't want to hear that though. He didn't make the throw and that's his fault. That's not always the case.”
KASITATI SETTLING INTO STARTING ROLE
Nila Kasitati had a rough last season. It started with a heart condition that was discovered before the season and then with a knee injury that ended his year prematurely.