Blake Bell might not be officially penciled in as Oklahoma's starting quarterback Aug. 31 when the Sooners open the season at home against Louisiana-Monroe.
Saturday morning during the annual Meet the Sooners Day, many fans certainly treated Bell as if we was going to be the starter.
In the afternoon at OU's media day, Bell said he was expecting to be the starter.
“Even if they don't say you're the guy, as a quarterback and a competitor, you have to approach every day like you're the guy,” Bell said. “I even thought that sometimes when Landry (Jones) was here. That wasn't anything against him or anything, that's just how every quarterback is. You go in pretty much every day thinking you're the guy because you don't know when you're going to be the guy.”
Bell still isn't the guy, officially.
Sooners coach Bob Stoops and co-offensive coordinator Josh Heupel still say the competition between Bell and redshirt freshman Trevor Knight is open, that either could be the quarterback under center for the opener. Kendal Thompson was also in the running before breaking his foot during the Sooners' first practice late last week.
Both coaches said there wasn't a timetable for naming a starter.
“When we chose Sam Bradford, they knew seven days before kickoff basically,” Heupel said. “That worked out pretty well. Whenever the guy earns the job, that's when we'll name a guy.”
Stoops said it might not be that immediate, at least in announcing the starter to the outside world.
“There's been times where we have known it (who the starting quarterback would be) and worked it for a week before we have released it,” he said. “When we feel we're ready to release it, we will.”
Even with the approach he's taken, Bell said he also felt pressure to go out and perform well enough to win the position instead of putting pressure on himself not to lose it.
Bell's weight hasn't changed much since last season, he still weighs in around 250, but he has slimmed down a bit since the end of last year.
“It has a lot to do with conditioning,” Bell said. “I know I haven't lost as much pounds but just feel better body-wise.”
With his role in the Belldozer short-yardage package the last two seasons, there is little doubt Bell can run the ball. The questions have been primarily about his arm, mainly because he hasn't had much of a chance to show it off.
He's run for 372 yards and 24 touchdowns over the past two seasons but thrown just 20 times for 115 yards.
Bell has heard the concern over his arm but laughed when asked about it Saturday.
“I don't really listen to any of that,” Bell said. “I had a job last year and my job was to come in and help on third-and-one or goal line and help the team.
“Landry was the starting quarterback so I just did whatever I could to help the team and that wasn't to throw the ball. It was to get a first down, third-and-inches and he's back on the field.”
Heupel also talked up Knight, saying he's not making the decision easy.
“He can make any throw you want him to make,” Heupel said. “He's a good decision-maker. He's grown tremendously in understanding what we're doing from spring ball.”
At times, Knight talked like the job was Bell's to lose, though even if that is the case, Knight says it won't change how he approaches things.
“Coach Heupel, from the beginning once Landry left, he said it was an open competition,” Knight said. “Even if it wasn't an open competition, he still wants us to prepare every day like we're the starter, so I still prepare everyday like I'm going to be the starter.”