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Oklahoma football: Sources confirm Blake Bell taking limited practice reps at quarterback

by Jason Kersey Published: August 21, 2014

NORMAN — Oklahoma senior Blake Bell said after Thursday’s practice that he hasn’t taken a snap at quarterback since early January.

But multiple sources confirmed to The Oklahoman that Bell has been splitting some of his time this week in practice between his new position — tight end — and his old one.

Bell’s limited quarterback repetitions have only come against the second-team defense, and coaches have only been working him there as possible insurance in case something happens to starter Trevor Knight.

Earlier this week, coach Bob Stoops said redshirt freshman Cody Thomas would likely be Knight’s primary backup, but according to sources, Thomas has been injured, which is why Bell has split second-team reps this week with true freshman Justice Hansen.

Thomas’ injury isn’t believed to be serious. He was dressed out in full pads for the open portion of Thursday’s practice, when students and media were allowed inside.

Bell didn’t take any snaps at quarterback during the open portion of practice.

The Sooners also have sophomore Baker Mayfield on the roster, but he is battling the NCAA for immediate eligibility after transferring from Texas Tech, where he started several games and played well last season as a true freshman.

The walk-on Mayfield would in all likelihood be Knight’s backup — eliminating the need for Bell to work at all at quarterback — if he were eligible.

Bell came to OU as a four-star quarterback from Bishop Carroll High School in Wichita, Kan., and served as the backup to Landry Jones in 2012. He also scored 24 rushing touchdowns over two seasons in the special “Belldozer” package.

Knight beat Bell out for the starting quarterback job to begin the 2013 season, but Bell replaced him in the fourth quarter of the second game and started eight times in 2013. He also came off the bench to lead OU to a last-minute touchdown to shock No. 6 Oklahoma State in Stillwater in the Sooners’ regular-season finale.

But after Knight’s MVP performance in the Sugar Bowl against Alabama, Bell moved to tight end, and until this week, that’s where he’d worked exclusively.

Bell completed 60.1 percent of his passes last season for 1,648 yards, 12 touchdowns and five interceptions.