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Oklahoma football: Josh Heupel, Bob Stoops stand by their man

Heupel and Stoops swallowed hard and put their faith in the big fella, quarterback Blake Bell
by Berry Tramel Published: October 27, 2013

Truth is, OU was playing scared offensively. Playing like it was allergic to the pass. Bell's mediocre play the past three games can make a coach gun-shy. But you can't give in to such temptation.

Trust your quarterback, or find a quarterback you can trust. Closing ranks is not an option.

Over the final three quarters Saturday, Bell didn't wear out his arm. He threw just 18 passes, completing 13 for 232 yards.

But the threat of the pass changed everything. Defenses have to adapt to a team willing to throw from the shadow of its own end zone. They have to adapt even more when the passing is efficient.

Bell on that 97-yard drive completed five of seven for 64 yards. And Bell opened his next drive with a 76-yard bomb to Saunders. OU suddenly had a 14-7 lead.

And over the game's remaining 34 minutes, Bell threw just 10 passes.

The OU running game blossomed. Duly convinced that the Sooners indeed would strike via air, Tech softened its run defense. In the third quarter, OU gained 127 yards on 16 running plays. In the fourth, 81 yards on 16 runs, which were the heavy lifting of two scoring drives.

All because Stoops and Co. took the shackles off their quarterback and were willing to go down with the ship.

Can the epiphany be a springboard for Blake Bell? “Hopefully it is,” Stoops said. “I think it can be. He's more and more comfortable every week.”

And Bell's coaches more comfortable with him. That's why the Sooners beat Tech and kept their Big 12 title chances afloat.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at