No. 4 Sooners choose Bell as backup quarterback

Blake Bell has beaten out Drew Allen for Oklahoma’s backup

quarterback job behind starter Landry Jones.

Coach Bob Stoops made the announcement after practice Tuesday

night. The 6-foot-6 Bell is best known for operating the Sooners’

”Bell-dozer” short-yardage run package late last season. He

scored a team-high 13 rushing touchdowns on 41 carries over the

final six games last season.

”Drew has done also a really great job and made great

improvement. I just feel Blake may have been more consistent

overall and is playing the way we need him to,” Stoops said.

”Drew is as well, is getting there, and he’ll still continue to

battle. He’s had a great attitude, continues to work really hard

also, so we’ll just take it from there as we go through the

year.”

Allen and Bell had been listed in a tie for the No. 2

quarterback spot throughout last season, with Stoops regularly

saying that no decision had been made which of the two would step

in if Jones couldn’t play.

Bell attempted only four passes last season as a redshirt

freshman, with one of them getting intercepted.

Allen, who will be a junior, has played in five games each of

the past two seasons and thrown for 160 yards in his career with no

touchdowns or interceptions.

”He earned it. The best player deserves to play regardless of

age, regardless of what’s going on,” Jones said. ”Great job for

Blake. Excited for him, excited to see him do some of the things

that he likes to do.”

The fourth-ranked Sooners open this season Sept. 1 at UTEP.

Jones is the entrenched starter, heading into his fourth season

in that role. He first took over during the 2009 season, after 2008

Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford was injured, and heads into the

season already as the Sooners’ career leader with 12,379 yards

passing.

Yet he yielded to Bell in some short-yardage and goal-line

situations last season when Oklahoma went with a jumbo package to

use Bell’s bruising running style to pick up first downs and score

touchdowns.

Without offering many details, Stoops said Bell had done enough

to distinguish himself as the No. 2 quarterback.

”That’s where it is right now,” Stoops said. ”I’m not going

to detail exactly where it is. You wanted to know when we made the

decision, so it’s time to say, `We made the decision.”’

As a result of the decision, Bell will get more practice

repetitions than Allen. Quarterbacks coach Josh Heupel said Bell,

who is from Wichita, Kan., had improved in numerous areas – taking

care of the ball, commanding the offense, making better and quicker

reads and dropping back from under center.

”All the things that you’re looking for,” said Heupel, the

quarterback on Oklahoma’s 2000 national championship team.

Heupel said he expects Allen to keep pushing.

”Obviously, it’s tough for him but at the same time, guys that

have stayed the course have had an opportunity come to them,”

Heupel said. ”Now, you’ve got to be in the position to make the

most of it.”