With Landry Jones — the most prolific passer in OU program history — on the roster, Stoops frequently dialed up plays from the “Belldozer” package, allowing Bell to enter games in short-yardage situations, take a shotgun snap and plow ahead for first downs and touchdowns.
Bell scored 24 touchdowns over two seasons as Jones' backup, and many of those scores came in huge moments, including the game-tying touchdowns in the fourth quarter of games against Notre Dame and Oklahoma State last season.
“I think being out there last year in some big situations — Notre Dame and Okie State and stuff like that — you feel a little bit of a presence back there,” Bell said. “Obviously, I'm not dropping back and throwing last year. Still, being in those big-game situations, it helps out a little bit.”
As recent history has shown, situational quarterbacking won't grant Knight any advantage in future position battles after Bell's eligibility expires.
Sophomore Kendal Thompson was part of the preseason quarterback derby before a foot injury derailed his chances. True freshman Cody Thomas is on campus redshirting, and Edmond Santa Fe's Justice Hansen is committed for the class of 2014.
But if Knight does regain the Sooners' starting quarterback job at some point, any game experience he gets between now and then should help to some degree.
“I think absolutely being in pressure situations, critical junctions in the game, absolutely helped him out,” co-offensive coordinator Josh Heupel said of Bell after Saturday's game. “But still you don't know how it's going to be when you are the starter.”