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Oklahoma football: How the 'Belldozer' became the 'Bellthrowzer'

COMMENTARY — Blake Bell put on the most impressive passing display for a Sooner starting quarterback's debut and made decisions better than his predecessor — and better than the one to play Trevor Knight in the first place.
by Berry Tramel Published: September 14, 2013

NORMAN — Blake Bell jogged onto Owen Field a few minutes after 11 a.m. with quite a strange resumé.

More bowl MVP trophies than college starts; 1-0.

More touchdown runs (24) than passes thrown (23) during a four-year career.

More popular when he was Landry Jones' backup than when he was Trevor Knight's competitor.

Time to rewrite the resume'. With a glorious day against Tulsa, Bell ended all discussion about who will quarterback the Sooners at Notre Dame in a fortnight.

“Well that's pretty obvious, yeah,” Bob Stoops said. “So much for your controversy right now … you can't deny what he just went out there and did.”

Here's what Bell did. A passing game that had been anemic through two games suddenly blossomed.

Bell completed 27 of 37 passes for 413 yards, breaking Sam Bradford's record (363) for a starting debut, and four touchdown and no bad decisions. Not every Bell pass was pristine, but most were on target.

Knight completed 43.4 percent of his passes in two games. The Sooners need at least 60 percent for efficient offense. Bell delivered 73 percent, while hitting not just on the short screens and slants that were missing the first two weeks, but a few big throws that stretch the defense, including strikes of 35 and 44 yards to Sterling Shepard, plus a gorgeous 25-yard TD pass to Jalen Saunders off a run fake.

And Bell made good decisions. Much better decisions than Knight made in his two games, and frankly, much better than the decision to play Knight in the first place.

Bell didn't dance around the pocket and didn't run much shotgun option; I counted 11 option plays, of which Bell kept the ball only twice.

Truth is, this offense looks more like Landry's than Knight's. But nothing wrong with that.

Bell seemed comfortable on shifting to his second and third pass options, and scrambled enough to fend off all comparisons to Landry.

In fact, in the spirit of teammates who in August compared Knight to Johnny Manziel, let's throw a Bell comparison out there. Ben Roethlisberger. A big ol' quarterback, clunky at times but hard to get down before he's delivered a lethal throw.

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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