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OU football notebook: Backup quarterback update

By Mike Baldwin, Staff Writer, mbaldwin@opubco.com Published: August 13, 2011
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Last season Drew Allen was the No. 2 quarterback for Oklahoma. This year redshirt freshman Blake Bell is in a battle with Allen for the backup role behind Landry Jones.

“Those guys continue to push each other every day,” said offensive coordinator Josh Heupel. “We want those guys to fight for their job, earn their job. Both of those guys continue to make strides.”

The highly touted Bell, who is more comfortable with the offense, might be the better long-term candidate.

“Last season I was seeing a bunch of jumble,” Bell said. “In the spring game, I was starting to get there. That was really my first playing time since high school. At this level it's a lot faster. Now everything is slowing down a little bit.”

Heupel said the competition could continue into the season, but the backup usually gets more practice reps after two-a-days end later this week.

“Typically that's the way it happens because there are not enough reps available,” Heupel said. “But you try to find ways to develop all those guys, pre-practice, post-practice and in meetings.”

EMPHASIZING KICKOFF COVERAGE

OU ranked 65th nationally in kickoff yardage allowed last season. The Sooners were burned for touchdown kickoff returns against Missouri, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and Connecticut.

Has kickoff coverage been emphasized more?

“We have. But we've always worked it a lot,” said coach Bob Stoops. “At the end of the day, there's always instances where someone's right there to make a tackle and doesn't make it. You can't make the tackle for him.

“Sometimes it's guys and their ability to tackle or willingness to tackle. Other times it's just getting them in the right spaces. We have worked it more. But I can't say we didn't work it a year ago. We just didn't do it very well.”

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