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Sooners use spring practice to sort a few things out, develop depth
Spring practice showed that Oklahoma’s offense will have a decidedly different look in 2013.
The Sooners also hope spring drills produced a defense that looks different.
“It was decent, nothing great,” defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said of the spring after the Red-White Game.
“We have a ways to go. We’re not a real deep team, we’re trying to develop some depth, and some quality depth will be key for us as we move into the fall and (determine) how much we lean on some of these younger players. I think they’re going to have to come in and help us at some positions.”
Meanwhile, the offense seems to be in good hands.
Fourth-year junior Blake Bell spent the spring competing with third-year sophomore Kendal Thompson and redshirt freshman Trevor Knight for starting quarterback duties, but all signs point to Bell inheriting the job.
The most telling sign is Bell’s game experience. He’ll not be pigeonholed by his short-yardage runs in the Belldozer formation. Rather, all that action the past two years — three touchdowns in the Insight Bowl, four touchdowns against Texas, critical snaps against Notre Dame — puts him ahead of the others.
“Definitely,” said head coach Bob Stoops. “He’s been in a lot of critical situations. Even though his opportunities to throw the ball have been limited overall, he’s been in some high-pressure, stressful spots. You can tell he has a little easier demeanor out there.”
For the second year in a row, Bell had a big Red-White Game. A year ago, he was 14 of 19 for 179 yards with a touchdown pass. This time around, he was 14 of 23 for 213 yards with two touchdown throws.
“All I’ve done is run and run and run,” said Bell. “I want to show everyone I can sling it a little, too.”
Quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator Josh Heupel said some of Bell’s success in this year’s scrimmage might have been on the defense, but some also was on Bell’s poise and patience in finding open receivers.
Whether it’s Bell or Thompson or Knight, the quarterback position will look different than it has at any time since before Jason White hurt his knees. All three are mobile, fast and elusive. More than that, Heupel and Stoops seem willing to incorporate elements of the quarterback run game into the playbook this season.
“It will be different,” said Heupel.
(Editor's Note: This is a portion of a feature story that appears in the new Spring Football/Native American issue of Sooner Spectator. To read the rest of the story, you can subscribe or download the new issue when it becomes available next week)