Oklahoma sophomore Blake Bell is expected by many to be the Sooners' quarterback of the future. On Saturday, Oklahoma fans should get their first extended look at Bell and what he brings to the table in the passing game.
Bell's running ability has been well documented and is already a big part of the Sooners' offense. In fact, the "Belldozer" package has probably been the most consistent part of Oklahoma's offense dating back to the loss of Ryan Broyles last season. Despite what the critics of Landry Jones would like you to believe, it is still unknown if Bell has the ability to take over the Sooners' offense and perform at the level of guys like Sam Bradford, Jason White and Jones. Yes, that's right, I said Jones.
To date, Bell has only thrown four passes. One was completed and another was intercepted. And, to be honest, none of those passes have looked pretty. But, it's not his perceived passing ability that has Oklahoma fans excited.
The old school and die-hard Oklahoma fans want to see the Sooners return to more of a power running game similar to that which is seen in the SEC and even showcased during the Barry Switzer days at Oklahoma.
On Saturday night, in Norman, the Sooners will face an under-matched Florida A&M team and should be able to find plenty of playing time for guys like Bell. If that is the case, it will be the first time for Oklahoma fans to see Bell in extended action in a live game.
If what Bell's teammates are saying after practices is true, you can expect Bell to show off his arm strength and accuracy by putting up some big numbers through the air Saturday.
Bell isn't the only reserve fans hope to see in action against the Rattlers. Freshman wideout Sterling Shepard will make his debut on the same field his late father Derrick played on as a receiver in the 1980's. Since his father's death in 1999 at the young age of 35, Bob Stoops and his coaching staff have taken Shepard under their wings and made him a part of the Sooner family.
Shepard will be easy to recognize wearing his father's No. 3 jersey.
The Oklahoman's Jason Kersey wrote a nice article on Shepard and his journey from being the kid on the sidelines and in the locker room to being one of the Sooners' top recruits. There's no doubt Shepard is a Sooner through and through, and there probably won't be another guy on the team more excited to step on the field Saturday night than Shepard.
Before you go thinking the freshman is on this roster because of his dad, think again. While playing at Heritage Hall High School in Oklahoma City, Shepard quickly became one of the most highly recruited receivers in the country, receiving offers from Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Missouri, Kansas State and Clemson.
In his senior year of high school, Shepard made 73 catches for 1,243 yards and 17 touchdowns.
With experience and depth being an issue for Oklahoma at receiver, the Sooners would like nothing more than to see Shepard prove to be the big play threat he was in high school. His impact on the offense could be huge for a team that struggled to move the ball last week in El Paso.
Not only has Shepard already drawn comparisons to his father, but many of his teammates have already said he may be the next Ryan Broyles. That could be some major pressure to put on a freshman, but this kid has already faced pressure in his life. Now he hopes to put on a good show this Saturday night with his father watching from above.