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.''