NORMAN — About 15 minutes prior to Oklahoma’s game Saturday against Tulsa, there was a roar at Owen Field. Blake Bell had just been introduced as starting quarterback.
Whether it was acknowledgment of what the quarterback had done in the past or a hope for what he would do in the future isn’t known.
However, what he did once the game started guaranteed it won’t be the last ovation he receives. The Belldozer transformed into the Sooners’ quarterback in a 51-20 rout of the Golden Hurricane. When it was over the 6-foot-6, 252-pound Bell seemed even bigger.
“It was awesome. I had a great time, first of all, just getting out there and playing ball, there’s nothing better,” Bell said.
As far as debuts for OU quarterbacks, it’s hard to top Bell’s display. He threw for 413 yards and four touchdowns. Only Sam Bradford, who established the first-start bar with a 363-yard performance in the 2007 season opener, could still say he ran the Sooners’ offensive so efficiently and precisely in his first start.
The only question that lingered by Saturday afternoon was how Bell left preseason camp as the backup quarterback to Trevor Knight?
Neither OU coach Bob Stoops nor offensive coordinator Josh Heupel wanted to wrestle with that one. However, Stoops quickly said there’s no debate who will take the first snap when the Sooners face No. 21 Notre Dame Sept. 28.
“Well, that’s pretty obvious, yeah,” Stoops said when asked if Bell’s performance solidified his spot atop the depth chart. “So much for your controversy right now. You can’t deny what he just went out and did. I’m proud of him and excited for him.
“I think it also speaks to his character in that he was a guy that was ready for it. He never got down, never changed his attitude. He got his chance and took advantage of it.”