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Tuesday, March 13, 2012
OU's Blake Bell can run, but can he throw?

By Jake Trotter

We know Blake Bell can run. The big question this spring is, how well can he throw?

Blake Bell
Quarterback Blake Bell (right) attempted just four passes in 2011 and had an interception
The Belldozer proved to be a revelation the last half of last season. As an answer to OU's red-zone scoring woes, the Sooners debuted the Belldozer at Kansas State and never looked back. Bell finished with 13 touchdowns, including three in the Insight Bowl against Iowa.

But the offense never expanded to include an effective passing game. Bell went just of 0 of 2 passing with an interception in the end zone. Offensive coordinator Josh Heupel, however, said those paltry statistics aren't reflective of how well Bell can throw the ball. Just a reflection of the passing game within the Belldozer package.

"Does it bother me? Yeah," said Heupel, when asked about the ineffectiveness of the Belldozer passing attack. "If you're going to throw the ball you want to be efficient."

"But It's completely different (with the base offense). Does it bother me or concern me that I think Blake Bell can't throw because he's 0-for-2 in the Bell package? No, it does not. But does it bother me that we're 0-for-2 in that package? Yes."

The Sooners will look to refine both this spring, while playing around with Bell's potential elsewhere. Bell has even been working some at tight end, though Heupel said unequivocally last week that Bell would not be there in the fall, and that the Sooners had no plans of changing Bell's position full-time.

"How many quarterbacks have you seen play tight end?" Heupel said. "Not a lot."

Instead, Bell remains squarely in the thick of the quarterback derby with Drew Allen and Kendal Thompson to take over for Landry Jones in 2013. Bell could take a big step toward winning that competition by passing at a high level. In the Belldzoer. But especially out of it.