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Planning for success: Oklahoma

11/13/2013

NORMAN, Okla. -- It’s not easy being the quarterback at Oklahoma.

Blake Bell watched Landry Jones take a lot of heat in the last couple of seasons and now he finds himself in the fire. The junior quarterback had rough outings in losses to Texas and Baylor, and a lot of the blame for OU’s lackluster offense has been placed on his shoulders.

Bell knew what he was getting into when he signed to play quarterback at Oklahoma -- success would bring a rock-star-type status in Norman, while failure would make him the scapegoat.

“It’s just part of the game of football,” Bell said. “It’s not just here at the University of Oklahoma, you see it in the NFL and all of college football. You just have to block it out and play the game.”

Last season it was Jones who drew the fans' ire, with some Sooner faithful even pointing to Bell as the answer to replace Jones under center in 2012. Watching Jones handle the heat has helped Bell this season.

“It helped out a lot,” Bell said. “In the locker room and meetings with him, I knew what kind of player he was and what he did for the team. I heard the talk, but it wasn’t that big of a deal for him."

Lack of consistency has been Bell’s downfall in 2013.

“We've been doing some great things and some not so great,” Bell said. “We just need to eliminate the bad and be more consistent."

In seven starts he’s been all over the map. Bell has been stellar at times, recording an adjusted QBR of 96.5 in OU’s 51-20 win over Tulsa, and horrible at other times, recording an adjusted QBR of 5.6 in OU’s 36-20 loss to Texas (on a scale of 0 to 100, with 50 being average). Nonetheless, OU coach Bob Stoops reaffirmed his commitment to Bell as the Sooners’ starter this week.

Stoops' support has allowed Bell to transfer his focus to Iowa State this week, not his past stumbles or any outside distractions.

“I don’t listen to anything or read anything,” Bell said. “It’s obviously disappointing that we lost, but we’re just moving on to Iowa State.”

But above all, Bell knows consistency is the key if he hopes to prove he should be the man in OU’s backfield for the duration of his career.

“I want to see us be more consistent,” Bell said. “You've seen us out there making plays, and we just have to continue that on a consistent basis.”