OU football: Why Bob Stoops is sticking with Blake Bell

COMMENTARY — For the first time as the Sooners head coach, quarterbacking has become a legitimate question mark for Bob Stoops. Expect him to answer it the same way he has most every other situation he's faced.
by Jenni Carlson Published: October 18, 2013

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Bob Stoops likes to stick with a quarterback.

He insists it isn't a philosophy.

Clearly, though, it's a preference. Whether he's leaving in a starter late into a rout or standing behind a guy who's hit a rough patch, the Oklahoma coach has rarely gone to the next man up.

Then again, he's never been in a position quite like this.

After a charmed 14-season run of quarterbacks who could sling it around pretty darn well, OU now finds itself with a quarterback conundrum. The Sooners are half way through the season and don't really know what they're going to get out of the position on any given Saturday. They have already played two quarterbacks, and in the passing game, both have had as much trouble as success.

Trevor Knight lost the starting job after a poor start. Hurting his knee didn't help, but his arm cost him before that.

Blake Bell took his spot but is now causing consternation after a pair of poor passing performances, most notably his 12-of-26, no-touchdown, two-interception day against Texas.

So, with Kendal Thompson healthy and waiting in the wings, will this be a three-quarterback year for OU?

That seems doubtful.

Obviously, if Bell gets hurt, that might bring back Knight or usher in Thompson, but barring injury, Stoops is likely to stick with Bell.

Asked earlier this week about playing a different quarterback, Stoops seemed uninterested in that tact.

“We'll see,” he said, “but no, that's not something we're looking to do.”

How about a change of pace with Knight or Thompson if the offense gets bogged down?

“Possibly.”

Thing is, if there was ever a time to use Knight or Thompson, to change the pace, to bring in a quarterback who could really run, it was against Texas last Saturday. The Longhorns were locking down Bell but in previous games had been unable to stop speedster quarterbacks.

And Stoops and Co. didn't change.

Didn't even think about it, if you listen to offensive coordinator Josh Heupel.

Now, there's a chance that the Sooner coaches are sandbagging, and OU will go all platoon system on Kansas this Saturday. But that just hasn't been Stoops' style. He's stood firm with his quarterbacks even at times when fans have clamored for change.


by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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