STILLWATER — Ryan Howard gets to be a new person every week as one of Oklahoma State's scout team quarterbacks.
This week, he gets to be Blake Bell, Oklahoma's 6-foot-6, 260-pound quarterback who has become the goal-line and short-yardage specialist in the Sooners' “Belldozer” package.
Problem is, Howard is only 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds.
“There's not a lot of guys walking around that are 250 pounds that can run pretty good,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said. “So it's hard to find somebody to simulate that situation.”
Mimicking Bell and the formation will be the No. 3 Cowboys' challenge this week as they prepare for Saturday night's Bedlam contest against No. 10 OU. Then it's time to defend the real thing, a task that has not been easy for Sooner opponents this season as OU has continued to expand the Belldozer during the past month.
“It concerns us a lot,” OSU defensive coordinator Bill Young said. “Nobody's really stopped it. Iowa State came close, but never did get it totally stopped.”
In the Belldozer, the Sooners pull a guard and utilize two fullbacks — Trey Millard and Aaron Ripkowski — as lead blockers. The quarterback himself does the rest, as Bell has scored nine touchdowns on just 33 carries this season.
That makes defensive line play crucial, as well as Shaun Lewis' role as the Cowboys' strongside linebacker.