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Oklahoma football's ‘Belldozer' package continues to evolve

BY MIKE BALDWIN, Staff Writer, Published: November 29, 2011

When Blake Bell trotted onto the field last Saturday, frigid Sooner fans went wild like teenage girls at a Justin Bieber concert.

The Belldozer, a package directed by Bell, a physical, athletic 6-foot-6, 260-pound backup quarterback, has been a rousing success since it was introduced against Kansas State.

But for the first time in four games, the Belldozer ran into some snags against Iowa State.

Of Bell's 10 plays, four resulted in Bell being stuffed for no gain. Another was a 2-yard loss on an option-pitch to fullback Trey Millard. Bell also threw an interception at the goal line.

“To think you're going to go through (four) games and it's going to be 95 percent (success rate), I don't think is very realistic,” said coach Bob Stoops. “It's going to get stopped every now and then. We came back on a couple of those occasions on fourth down and got it.

“That's the game you play. Sometimes you get them, sometimes they get you. To think we're the only ones that are going to get it every time isn't realistic.”

The Belldozer has been extremely effective when fullbacks Aaron Ripkowski and Millard are lead blockers for Bell.

“We have a body for every other body,” said guard/center Gabe Ikard. “Instead of the quarterback handing off, you have a 260-pound kid use his weight. As a lineman it's one of your favorite formations — anxious to know you're going to run.”

Since opponents expect Bell to plow ahead, OU coaches at some point might have to call a pass out of the formation to keep defenses honest.

Still, the success rate has been remarkable.

Of Bell's 33 carries, 21 have produced first downs or touchdowns.

“That package is extremely hard to defend,” Ikard said. “We're not putting anything in that's overly complicated. The more wrinkles you put in the more difficult it's going to be to defend. We have to sharpen it up this week.”

On the interception, Bell, a redshirt freshman four games into his career, failed to let the play develop. He hurried the play and threw into triple coverage.

“In the tight end zone we didn't execute a couple of times and didn't put points on the board,” said offensive coordinator Josh Heupel. “Regardless of what personnel grouping you're in, you have to execute. But it's been a good package, allowed us to do some things and ultimately get the ball in the end zone.”

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Here is a breakdown of Blake Bell's 10 plays vs. Iowa State:

1st Quarter


3rd-and-1 at ISU 13 - Bell no gain

4th-and-1 at ISU 13 - Bell 7-yard run

1st-goal at ISU 6 - Bell no gain

2nd-goal at ISU 1 - Bell interception

2nd Quarter

1st-goal at ISU 3 - Bell 3-yard TD

3rd-goal at ISU 1 - Bell 1-yard TD

3rd Quarter

3rd-and-1 at ISU 31 - Bell no gain

4th-and-1 at ISU 31 - Bell 3-yard run

4th Quarter

1st-goal at ISU 1 - Bell no gain

2nd-goal at ISU 1 - option to Millard 2-yard loss


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