DALLAS — Right out of the gate, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops dismissed the idea that Blake Bell is definitely the starting quarterback entering fall practice.
“You're kind of making assumptions if you feel he's the guy,” Stoops said in response to the first question he was asked at Tuesday's Big 12 Media Days. “We've never been real excited about naming a guy too early.”
Stoops was asked repeatedly about Bell, the presumed starter after two years running the Belldozer package behind Landry Jones.
Stoops was asked about Bell's arm, his ability to run the offense and the future of the Belldozer whether Bell is the starter or not.
Over the past two seasons, Bell has run 102 times while attempting just 20 passes.
“We have a history in my going on 15 years of having guys at quarterback that are really excellent throwers,” Stoops said. “And Blake fits that mold. We would never recruit a guy that we didn't feel would be a great passer.”
But Stoops reiterated that both Trevor Knight and Kendal Thompson are still in the mix to be the starting quarterback.
“They all, through spring, had their ‘uh-oh' moments,” Stoops said. “They also have made great throws down the field that you want them to make.”
The Belldozer package could continue to exist in some form even if Bell is the starter.
“I wouldn't shy away from it,” Stoops said. “In thinking through this, the thing about it is, if you put Kendal or Trevor back there to run it, they're faster. If they get a crease, they're not likely to get caught very soon.
“There could be some of each. I'm not sitting here wanting to tip my hand. Blake is a big, strong, sturdy guy but we are aware that we don't want out quarterback to take too many hits.”
Offense wasn't all Stoops talked about during his morning press conference.
After giving up 633 yards in a 41-13 Cotton Bowl loss to Texas A&M, the Sooners have plenty of questions on the defensive side of the ball.
“Definitely, in some of our schemes a year ago, we were more coverage-conscious and it hurt us in our run game,” Stoops said. “In the end, we'll have to make some adjustments there.”
Stoops still feels appreciated in Oklahoma, even after last year's rough finish and the recent struggles.
“I've never been appreciated by everybody, even in 2000,” Stoops said. “That's always going to be the case and anytime you've been somewhere 15 years, that's something to consider.”