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Oklahoma football: A closer look at what went into Blake Bell's decision to move to tight end

Rather than transfer, Blake Bell decided to take a stab at another position, one that slid into virtual irrelevancy in Oklahoma's offense the past few seasons. The artist formerly known as the “Belldozer” plans to play tight end as a senior.
by Jason Kersey Published: February 8, 2014

When Bell was a high-school sophomore and Bishop Carroll had a senior quarterback, he was a standout wide receiver, even grabbing a 58-yard touchdown reception in the Kansas Class 5A state championship game that season.

“Blake has the size, the athleticism and the speed to do that,” OU coach Bob Stoops said. “He has exhibited his toughness through the years. I think it'll be a great fit for him.”

A few springs ago during Oklahoma's Landry Jones era, Bell worked some at tight end, but the move never became permanent.

Although Bell has some pass-catching experience and has exhibited the toughness needed to succeed at tight end, he's never been asked to block.

“I think his biggest struggle will be with his blocking,” said former OU fullback/tight end Trey Millard. “That's something he hasn't really done and that's a big part of what tight end is.”

Tight ends were an important piece of Oklahoma's offense throughout the vast majority of the Stoops era, but the past two seasons, the unit has been thin and rarely used.

Millard and fellow fullback Aaron Ripkowski served as the Sooner tight ends when needed.

Next season, Oklahoma returns Ripkowski, sophomores Taylor McNamara — who made the first catch of his career in the Sugar Bowl — and Sam Grant, and adds junior-college transfer Isaac Ijalana and freshman Carson Meier, meaning Bell will surely encounter lots of competition when spring practices begin next month.

OU's offensive players have already started organizing 7-on-7 workouts, and Knight said Bell has looked good at tight end thus far.

“I think it's awesome,” Knight said of Bell's move. “He's gonna do great things no matter where he's at.

“He's too valuable to our team to not be on the field. For him to do that speaks a lot about his character and about him as a teammate.”

by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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