In two seasons in a reserve role, Bell has attempted only 20 passes. He was 9-of-16 for 107 yards last season. Bell has a cannon arm, but halfway through his career he's rushed for 24 touchdowns but is still looking for his first passing TD.
During occasional summer workouts in Norman, Bradford has spoken a handful of times with OU's quarterbacks, including Bell.
“If there's ever a time I feel something needs to be said or he comes and asks me, I have no problem helping,” Bradford said. “I've said a few things to him in the past. Hopefully it helps him a little.”
Bradford said veterans like fullback Trey Millard and cornerback Aaron Colvin must be leaders while the Sooners are transitioning to a new quarterback.
“While this competition is going on, guys that have been around the program and have played a lot of football have to step up,” Bradford said. “The older guys have to be leaders, especially the early part of the season.”
If Bell wins the starting job, as expected, OU's offense will look a little different because of his “Belldozer” skills. Still, the passing game will remain the foundation of OU's offense. The Sooners will continue to stretch the field and use swing passes as pseudo-running plays.
It's unrealistic to expect Bell, or whoever wins the job, to throw for 4,175 yards and 35 touchdowns, an “average season” for Bradford and Jones the past six years. But the new quarterback will have to prove he can direct a fast-paced offense and have success through the air.
Bradford said the new quarterback simply needs to run OU's system.
“I was extremely nervous before my first start against North Texas,” Bradford said. “After I played well in that game (363 yards passing, 3 TDs in a 79-10 rout) and the following week against Miami (205 yards, 5 TDs in a 51-13 mismatch) I was able to settle down.”