Blake "Belldozer" Bell has the catchy nickname and a throng of fans who cheer every time he takes the field. Bell also has that "front-runner" label slapped on him as the Sooners' 2013 potential starting quarterback.
While Landry Jones was the starting quarterback last year, Bell dropped his head and barreled through Big Uglies in short-yardage situations last season to give the Sooners critical first downs—Bell has paid his dues.
But before everyone just crowns Blake Bell the next Sooner starting quarterback, well...don't, because we have a barn burner of a competition coming up with two quarterbacks—Drew Allen is reportedly transferring—who will challenge Bell.
Trevor Knight, a dual-threat quarterback, reportedly played havoc with the scout team's defense last season. From ESPNs Jake Trotter:
Weeks ago, the viewpoint of Oklahoma’s varsity defense toward scout-team quarterback Trevor Knight finally reached its tipping point. On a rollout, Knight planted suddenly, jumped inexplicably and completed a bomb downfield over the defense for a touchdown. Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops slammed his paper script down. Bobby Jack Wright howled at his defensive ends. And a hushed Knight jogged back to the huddle, poised to torch the OU defense again on the next play.
“I was like, ‘This kid is unreal. Why is he doing this to us?’ ” said end R.J. Washington. “I’m not mad at him — we need the look. But at the same, you’re like, ‘Trevor, you throw another pass like that, I’m going to hit you in the back of your head.’ ”
Much to the dismay of the OU defense, Knight has thrown many passes like that all season, earning the redshirting freshman scout team co-offensive player of the year honors at last week’s team banquet.
Hey, if Johnny Football 101 works at Texas A&M, why can't it work at Oklahoma? And let's be honest here, Johnny Manziel may have shed some light on the Sooners' quarterback competition after he dismantled the Sooners in the Cotton Bowl with his Cotton Bowl-record 516 all purpose yards.
Maybe there is something to this "Speed Kills" thing. And maybe head coach Bob Stoops will decide to get crazy on us and introduce a new, fun wrinkle in an offense that finished third in passing among all Big 12 teams despite it not looking like an exciting third-ranked offense.
Stoops will also be looking at Kendal Thompson, the then-redshirt freshman who was one of the stars at the Sooners' spring game last year. On one play in that scrimmaged game, Thompson bootlegged for a huge gain. He also threw a 25-yard touchdown pass.
Thompson seems unfazed with a collapsing pocket around him, but that's probably because he has great field awareness—he turns on a dime while bouncing off of other players, and he makes linebackers look they've donned cement anchors on their feet.
Thompson would probably run the zone-read to perfection because the front seven tend to freeze when he hesitates after quickly going through his progressions. While Thompson can run a bootleg beautifully, he could also easily cancel out the linebacker/defensive end at the mesh point by handing the ball off to his running back.
There are so many options for Stoops to look at but one thing is for sure—the battle between Kendal Thompson, Trevor Knight and Blake Bell should fill Oklahoma Memorial Stadium to capacity on Saturday, April 13, barring any freak weather system popping up at the last minute.
In less than six weeks, the nation's best battle for quarterback could take place in Norman, Oklahoma. Grab your jerseys, pom poms, coolers and sunblock.
Sit back, revel in college football's return and pass the popcorn.