Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops – as he is prone to do – threw some jabs at the media following Saturday’s 51-20 rout over Tulsa in Norman.
Redshirt junior quarterback Blake Bell had just thrown for more yards than any OU player in his first career start, completing 27 of 37 passes for 413 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. Suffice to say, Bell will start the Sooners’ next game when they play at Notre Dame on Sept. 28.
“Well, that’s pretty obvious, yeah,” Stoops said. “So much for your controversy … you can’t deny what he just went out there and did.”
Indeed, it is pretty obvious Bell should be the starter, which makes it equally obvious Stoops never should have named Trevor Knight as such.
Stoops is the one who created this controversy, tabbing Knight over Bell. Outsiders had no clue what kind of passer Bell was. Before Saturday, Bell had 24 career touchdowns, but just 26 career pass attempts.
And, no, we can’t deny what Bell "just did out there," so neither can Stoops.
Bell’s scintillating performance left everyone wondering how in the world Knight beat out Bell.
When Stoops named Knight as starter before opening against Louisiana-Monroe, passing ability was thought to be the determining factor. As an optioneer, Knight shows promise. As a passer, not so much, completing 21 of 48 (.438) for 205 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions in seven quarters of play. Knight’s passing efficiency is 94.6. Bell’s is roughly twice that at 188.6.
Based on Stoops’ selection, we can assume Knight is a much better practice player than he is a gamer. Hey, these things happen. Some players practice better than they play. Maybe it’s nerves. Maybe it’s the stage. Maybe it’s the opponent.
Knight is a terrific kid and teammate. When Bell replaced him in the fourth quarter against West Virginia, Knight was the first person to congratulate Bell on the sideline after a scoring drive.
Credit Sooners offensive coordinator Josh Heupel for a plan of attack that seemed to surprise the Golden Hurricane. Heading into the game, Tulsa coach Bill Blankenship said this year’s OU offense had a “spit in your hands” run approach rather than the pocket attack that featured Landry Jones, Sam Bradford, Jason White, at al.
Four touchdowns and 413 yards later …
Most of us expected the Sooners to play smash mouth against Tulsa and run the ball 60 times with Bell at the point. Heupel’s plan instead was roughly a 50/50 proposition with 44 rushes and 37 passes. Bell had 10 carries, but only kept the ball on two option plays.
Bell’s heroics injected some much-needed confidence into the OU offense. More important, it gives Notre Dame something to think about for two weeks. If Bell hadn’t gone off against Tulsa, the Fighting Irish would have been licking their chops at the thought of facing a run-only opponent at home.
If we’re to believe Stoops, his team’s passing prowess was always there, even with Knight. Has Stoops seen anything in the fall that would suggest Bell could throw for 400 yards? “Sure,” Stoops said. “I’ve seen that from our other quarterbacks, too.”
Asked after the Tulsa victory if his team was now reverting back to the passing game and moving away from the run offense it had shown the first two weeks, Stoops – as he also is prone to do – got snippy.
“No. We’re not,” Stoops said. “What are you complaining about? We had 600 yards, 51 points, no turnovers and we ate up the clock. What did we do wrong? What do you want to see? We’re going to mix, we’re going to choose what we run according to what defenses are out there and the personnel we have. If you noticed, their defense is not like what we had seen the last two weeks.”
Thing of it is, the Sooners appear to be much better equipped to do all these things with Bell at the helm rather than Knight, and Stoops should have realized this from the