Bob Stoops doesn’t give us too many peeks into his emotions or the inner workings of his ballteam. But he did Monday.
Stoops told the story that after Blake Bell’s press conference Saturday, Bell retreated to his locker, and Stoops witnessed a cool sight. Bell received a bear hug from Trevor Knight.
Knight is the quarterback who beat out Bell in August, and Bell is the quarterback who drew the start against Tulsa after Knight first was ineffective and then injured against West Virginia. You know the rest. Bell played sensationally and clearly reclaimed the job.
Stoops was proud of Knight’s reaction in the locker room.
“Blake’s a great example of, yes, persevering,” Stoops said, but then he offered up the bear hug story and seemed downright proud of his players. “There isn’t one trying to undercut the other guy.”
No matter what coaches say, a quarterback derby is fraught with tension. Usually, only one guy can play. One person’s success means limited opportunity for another person.
That’s what makes Bell’s play Saturday so heartwarming. His career seemed in peril just a couple of weeks previous. It looked like he might never start an OU game. Now, he’s the Bell of the Ball.
“There’s no question it has” turned out well, for Bell, Stoops said. “It’s a testament to his character. He didn’t get down. He didn’t get negative. He was ready for it. He took advantage of it.”
Running the Belldozer for 1½ seasons helped.
“Blake has been in, for two years, critical, tough, high pressure situations, he knew how to handle that,” Stoops said. “I recall, they said the first time we put him at Kansas State (in 2011), tried to call a play, he couldn’t even get it out of his mouth. Couldn’t even talk. The guys were chuckling about it afterwards.”
This time, “he was ready for it and took advantage of it.”