One important part of Oklahoma's Belldozer has been ruled out for the bowl game due to injury, but the package, centered on the running ability of quarterback Blake Bell, is expected to plow ahead as scheduled Dec. 30 against Iowa.
A function of the set is having two fullbacks, Trey Millard and Aaron Ripkowski, line up on one side of the line or the other. Well, Ripkowski hurt his back during the Oklahoma State game.
A linebacker, of all people, replaced him against the Cowboys. He could again in the Insight Bowl.
“Yeah, Jaydan Bird went in there at the end of the Oklahoma State game and did really well,” OU coach Bob Stoops said Monday. “We'll have some other guys that can do it.”
With the team struggling in goal-line and short-yardage situations, Bell – and the others, such as Ripkowski – was employed about midway through the season. Bell has 10 touchdowns in this, his redshirt freshman season.
Bell got only one snap in the loss in Stillwater. But it was a 28-yard touchdown, late in the game.
YOUNGSTERS EXCITE VETERAN TEAMMATES DURING BOWL PREP
Two Sooners mentioned freshman linebacker Frank Shannon as the redshirting player who has most caught their eye.
“Frank Shannon will be a baller,” Clay said. “I'm excited to see him out there.”
Shannon is from Dallas Skyline.
Clay also mentioned defensive end Geneo Grissom, who redshirted last season and has played in six games this season, as another young player “I'm excited to see.”
Cornerback Demontre Hurst said he's been impressed in bowl practice by young safety Quentin Hayes. Hayes, a redshirt freshman, has been active on special teams, as well.
BACKS FORCED TO EARN THEIR ‘STRIPES'
In August and much of September, OU had five scholarship tailbacks, plus walk-on Dominique Whaley, who eventually earned the starting job.