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OU football: 'Belldozer' disappears in short-yardage situations

by Jason Kersey Published: September 29, 2013


photo - Oklahoma's Blake Bell (10) runs out of the tackle of Notre Dame 's Dan Fox during the second half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013, in South Bend, Ind. Oklahoma defeated Notre Dame 35-21. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) ORG XMIT: INDC118
Oklahoma's Blake Bell (10) runs out of the tackle of Notre Dame 's Dan Fox during the second half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013, in South Bend, Ind. Oklahoma defeated Notre Dame 35-21. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) ORG XMIT: INDC118

Stoops has said since the preseason — before he named Trevor Knight his season-opening starting quarterback — that, if Bell won the job, he might be hesitant to dial up Belldozer plays because he wouldn't want his starting quarterback taking the sorts of hits he might take in those short-yardage situations.

But through Bell's two starts, he's recorded 22 carries, including an 11-yard quarterback draw that left him on his back with a painful leg cramp. The run came after Bell had limped to the line of scrimmage.

For all the Sooners' offense did well Saturday, it wasn't great on third-down conversions — OU converted only five of 14 attempts — or red-zone offense. The Sooners scored a touchdown on just one of their four trips inside the Notre Dame 20-yard line.

After Bell returned from receiving an IV in the locker room for his cramps, he led Oklahoma on a 5-play, 75-yard drive, capped by a 54-yard touchdown pass to Sterling Shepard that all but put the game out of reach for Notre Dame.

“It's like a legend,” said senior center Gabe Ikard, one of Bell's roommates. “It's like the legend of the Belldozer. … He's like a folk hero. He just goes out, and then all of a sudden comes back and throws a strike to Shep for a touchdown. He was battling today.

“He got some tough yards with his feet and took some big hits.”

The legend of the Belldozer is giving way to a different Blake Bell, one who manage the offense efficiently, make key throws and limit mistakes.

But if Bell is going to carry the ball in short-yardage situations anyway — or while he's cramping, for that matter — why wouldn't Oklahoma coaches protect him with extra blockers in the backfield?

 

by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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