Oklahoma football: The Belldozer in reverse
Berry Tramel: 35 years ago, Thomas Lott would come out of a game so Dean Blevins could throw a timely pass. Now, Landry Jones exits so Blake Bell can burst through the line.
NORMAN — Landry Jones keeps a stiff upper lip about the Belldozer. Remains supportive and stoic about the offense that in some ways is an indictment of his abilities.
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Jones' attitude is an act.
So says the one man on Earth who should know. The one man who has lived through what Landry has lived through with the Belldozer.
Thirty-five years ago, Lott, one of Barry Switzer's greatest optioneers, occasionally was sent to the sidelines so Dean Blevins could enter and toss a timely pass.
The 'Dozer in reverse. Blake Bell replaces Landry Jones to run the ball. Blevins replaced Lott to pass.
“To be quite honest, being a competitor, anybody who says it doesn't bother 'em, they're not being honest,” Lott said the other day.
“You always try to say the politically correct things. But it does bother you if they take you out. They're saying you can't do this certain thing. As a competitor, you feel like you can.”
The Sooners' inability to find the end zone on short-yardage situations fostered the implementation of the Belldozer. Then receiving star Ryan Broyles suffered a season-ending knee injury, and Jones' favorite target was gone. The Belldozer became even more valuable.
Switzer never turned to Blevins as often as Bob Stoops summoned Bell last autumn. But Blevins' relief passes produced some memorable OU moments. Nebraska 1976. Ohio State 1977.
And clearly, Bell is good at running the fifth-grade offense — hike the ball to the quarterback and let him run.
“When Blake Bell comes in, teams aren't ready for it,” Blevins said, even though defenses know what's coming. “Likewise, when I came in for Thomas.”
There is a major difference in the two relief-quarterback situations. Bell hasn't otherwise played any meaningful minutes. Blevins was the starting QB in 1976 before giving way to Lott.
Blevins said when he returned to the field, replacing Lott in passing situations, “A lot of my effort was out of anger” over losing the starting job. “Deep down inside, it really hurt.