Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops confirmed on the Big 12 coaches teleconference Monday morning that starting quarterback Trevor Knight would miss Saturday's game against Tulsa—at the very least—with a knee injury.
Bell came in during the fourth quarter of OU's 16-7 win over West Virginia last Saturday in relief of Knight. Bell didn't have to do much other than hand the ball off, but he was able to keep the offense moving enough to secure the win.
That's something Knight struggled to do. His passing numbers haven't been good so far this season—completion rate under 50 percent—and his injury against the Mountaineers further limited his game.
All things put together, it was a bad night for the redshirt freshman.
When asked Monday if he benched Knight because of ineffectiveness or injury, Stoops said it was both.
"I said I didn't feel things were what they needed to be," Stoops said via SoonerScoop.com. "Injury could have been part of it but does it really matter when we have to make the decision? The bottom line was we had to do something different."
But how different will OU's offense look with Bell in the lineup? Considering that the offense's strength lies in the run game at the moment, it shouldn't change that much.
Between Brennan Clay and Damien Williams, the Sooners have the ninth-best rushing attack in all of college football and the best in the Big 12—the somewhat interesting thing about those stats is that OU only has one rushing touchdown.
Like Knight, Bell is a threat to run the ball. It's what he's done almost exclusively for the Sooners for the past couple of years.
The read-option will likely still be a part of the game plan, though just how much remains to be seen. Where Bell needs to provide a spark is the disconnect in the passing game. Jalen Saunders has been able to reel in some passes, but that's about it.
What any offense wants (or should want) is balance. Not necessarily in the number of pass plays vs. run plays, but the effectiveness with which a team is able to do both.
There's a reason Stoops chose Knight to be the starter just as there were reasons to be optimistic about him after the way he played in Week 1 against Louisiana-Monroe.
Knight took a few steps back in Week 2 even without the injury, but he'll be in a position to start once he's healthy again if Bell doesn't go out and dominate for the next week or two.
Ben Kercheval is the lead writer for Big 12 football. All quotes obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise. You can follow Ben on Twitter @BenKercheval.
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