The Norman Transcript

October 15, 2013

Stoops not looking into making quarterback change

By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Who will Oklahoma’s quarterback be when it faces Kansas Saturday?

Apparently, the job still belongs to Blake Bell.

“That’s not something we’re looking to do,” OU coach Bob Stoops said Monday when asked if the Sooners were ready to make a change after Bell struggled in the 36-20 loss to Texas.

Bell threw for just 133 yards, completed 12 of 26 passes and threw his first two interceptions of the season against the Longhorns.

Statistically, he had a worse game than redshirt Trevor Knight did in OU’s 16-7 victory over West Virginia Sept. 7. Knight was replaced in the fourth quarter by Bell in that game, and Bell has been the starter ever since.

Stoops believes Bell’s play in his first three starts are enough to keep him at starter after one bad game.

“Everything we’ve seen the last two or three games and the way he’s practiced. And realizing it isn’t all on him,” he said about the rationale to keep Bell at the starter. “It doesn’t matter who the quarterback is: if guys aren’t open, if guys aren’t going to look for the hot read, if guys are gonna protect him, they’re not gonna have a lot success either.”

Run it more: The Sooners rushed for 130 yards against Texas. Stoops praised the running backs for their effort. With the exception of Bell, every running back and receiver that had a carry averaged at least 4.6 yards per carry.

Bell was sacked four times, finishing the day with minus-27 rushing yards.

“I thought we ran the football really well. When you take away sacks, I think it’s 5.8 per rush,” Stoops said. “The running backs really did well, and the running game, that part of it, was really solid.”

Bad on tape: Stoops said the film review of the 36-20 loss to Texas did not reveal anything unexpected.

“About how I thought after the game,” he said . “Give Texas credit. They made the big plays in the game that usually make the difference in the rivalry. They made the interception return for the touchdown, the punt return for the touchdown. Those are always difficult to overcome. They made those big plays and we didn’t.”

Bad omen: Kansas coach Charlie Weis was quick to note Stoops’ record following the Texas game on Monday. The Sooners are 14-0 since 1999 in the game following the Red River Rivalry.

“The numbers are almost astounding,” he said.

Stoops the disappointment from the Texas loss has to fade quickly. No matter what the outcome was in Dallas, there’s half the season to go.

“Our season … win or lose this game isn’t the end all,” he said. “We go back to doing our work like we always do. We have six more conference games to go.”

One interesting aspect of that 14-0 record is that six of those victories have come against the Jayhawks.

Added pressure: With OU’s offense in a two-game funk, it would love to be able to rely on its defense to win tight, low-scoring games. It’s already done it twice this year in a 16-7 win over West Virginia and 20-17 over TCU.

“We embrace that. That’s what the defense’s job is to do, keep the opposing offense off the scoreboard so our offense can put points on the scoreboard. We embrace it 100 percent,” defensive end Geneo Grissom said. “I don’t think it puts anymore pressure on us than there already was. We know we have to go out there and play football.”

OU-Texas Tech will kickoff at 2:30 p.m.: The Big 12 Conference announced Monday the Oklahoma-Texas Tech game on Oct. 26 is slated to kick off at 2:30 p.m. at Owen Field. The contest will be broadcast by FOX.

John Shinn

Follow me @john_shinn

jshinn@normantranscript.com