NORMAN — Incoming freshman Blake Bell will be given the opportunity to earn the Sooners' backup quarterback job.
"I don't want to redshirt anybody as a freshman because I believe in them playing four years," said OU coach Bob Stoops. "I believe the quality of players we're getting are not going to be here that fifth year. I believe these freshmen, even if they play a little bit, they're better next year."
For Bell to play "even a little bit," he will have to beat out current backup Drew Allen, a redshirt freshman. Early reports are Bell has a viable shot at the job. The Sooners have practiced only two days, but Stoops said Bell was impressive.
"He's a big, strong athlete," Stoops said. "He's a very bright guy, which you can see when you visit with him. He catches on quickly. You can tell the players like being with him, that he's one of the guys. He has all the personality traits to really be an exceptional player.
"Looking at him running, physically, he definitely is ahead as a freshman of anyone who has come in here that big and strong."
Bell threw for 2,752 yards his senior year at Wichita Bishop Carroll, accounting for 54 touchdowns (32 passing, 22 rushing). Having good speed for a quarterback makes him a dual threat.
"If he's your second-best guy, you get him ready," said offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson. "Three weeks from now, he might be second team. Right now, he's not. Drew Allen is."
Bell's father, Mark, and uncle, Mike, both played in the NFL. Mike was the No. 2 overall pick in 1979 and played 12 seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs.
"What's unusual for him is he's a little more comfortable for a young guy with the ability to speak up," Wilson said of Blake Bell. "He's by no means arrogant or cocky but is very self assured. He talks like a man. At quarterback, you want a guy who communicates in an assertive way. That was impressive.
"The issue as a player is, in time, mentally can he do all the processing and make good throws. Some guys get a little overwhelmed. Sam (Bradford) is going through a little of that in the NFL phase right now (in St. Louis). Those are things we'll figure out in preseason."
Stoops sometimes has given the majority of snaps to his starting quarterback but said the backup, whether it's Bell or Allen, might play more this season.
"It always depends on the game, depends on situations, how (Bell) or Drew come along," Stoops said. "Making it a point to give him some series here and there is only going to develop him further and have him more prepared. I just don't know until we get out there."