LAWRENCE, Kan. —
The predictable ups and downs of a first-year starting quarterback?
Sooner offensive coordinator Josh Heupel doesn’t think so.
Bell’s inconsistency is “not to be expected, “ Heupel said. “He’s capable of playing better than he played today.”
In the moment, Heupel sort of realized how strident he’d sounded and began to talk about the plays Bell managed to make against the Jayhawks, like a big over-the-middle hook-up with Jalen Saunders and a beautiful touchdown strike to Jaz Reynolds. Nonetheless, the point had been made.
Bell doesn’t seem to want to go there. That, or he’s simply not built for serious introspection 45 minutes after leaving the field.
“When you’re out there, you’re trying to execute the offense, but there’s some times when guys aren’t going to be as open and a couple of times today I really wanted to sit in the pocket and let stuff develop and that’s when I kind of got flushed out, and they got that intentional grounding,” he said. “I just wanted to make sure I got it out. I didn’t really want to take a sack on that. But you know stuff like that is going to happen.”
It’s the rambling statement of a player you hope knows better, because “stuff like that” is not supposed to happen, ever. And even though it may happen, the starting quarterback is not supposed to chalk it up to the vagaries of the game.
Indeed, there are times Bell appears in complete control. Similarly often, he doesn’t.
Heupel, to his great credit, took a shot at the reason why.
“I don’t’ know if you can pinpoint it, but I think, as much as anything, he’s rushing through things,” he said. “Whether it’s him physically, mentally, the combination of the two, he’s just not playing calm and relaxed and executing.”