NORMAN — A few days before last season's game at Kansas State, Blake Bell eagerly called his dad to share some big — but top-secret — news: Oklahoma coaches had devised a special play for the then-third string, redshirt freshman quarterback.
“He said, ‘Whatever you do, don't tell anybody,'” said Mark Bell, who only shared the news with Blake's mom, Sherry.
“I wanted to tell somebody so bad; I was so excited. We didn't have any idea what this would evolve into; I thought maybe he'd get in for one play or something.”
After the Sooners advanced their opening drive to Kansas State's 1-yard line, Mark Bell stood in the stands, watching through his binoculars, when he noticed Landry Jones slip out of the sideline huddle.
“All of a sudden, Landry stepped back and Blake stepped in,” Mark Bell said. “I tapped Sherry, ‘I think it's coming. I think he's going in.'”
Blake Bell took a shotgun snap, stepped back to spot a hole and ran untouched into the end zone.
The entire Bell clan, of Wichita, Kan., remains a little shocked by how much their lives have changed since that first touchdown, scored out of the popular short-yardage package soon etched in Sooner lore as the “Belldozer.”
“It's so exciting,” Sherry Bell said. “We're bursting with pride.”
Brock Bell knew all about the Belldozer before his parents did, but only because he lives in Norman with his brother and OU fullback Trey Millard.
“I knew what the package was, but I didn't really expect them to use it at all,” Brock Bell said. “I figured it'd be something they'd shock somebody with late in the season.”
Bell has shocked lots of opponents since last season; he's rushed for 23 touchdowns — drastically improving Oklahoma's red-zone offense — since the inception of the Belldozer, which continues to evolve as Sooner coaches have become more comfortable with their backup quarterback, who was named as Jones' heir apparent in August, taking snaps in big moments.
Down seven points to Notre Dame in the fourth quarter and facing fourth-and-2 at the Irish's 9-yard line, Bell entered the game — to everyone's surprise — completed a first-down pass to Millard, then followed it up with a 1-yard, game-tying touchdown run.