Oklahoma Football: No Reason to Hit the Panic Button on Blake Bell Yet

Ben KerchevalCollege Football Lead WriterOctober 15, 2013

Texas' 36-20 win over Oklahoma in Week 7 was certainly unexpected, but it was far from rocket science. 

UT ran the ball right through OU's vulnerable defensive front, which was missing defensive tackle Jordan Phillips and linebacker Corey Nelson, and got big plays from its defense and special teams. It was the best effort from Texas, coaches and players alike, in the past three years all because the game plan was simple and effective. 

Doling out blame for OU's disappointing performance is not so simple, however. It certainly doesn't belong solely on the shoulders of quarterback Blake Bell.

It's true that the redshirt junior had by far his worst game as a starter with just 12 completions on 26 attempts and a pair of interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown by Longhorns defensive lineman Chris Whaley. 

Oct 12, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns defensive tackle Chris Whaley (96) celebrates scoring a touchdown on an interception return with defensive tackle Malcom Brown (90) in the first quarter of the game against the Oklahoma Sooners during the Red
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

It's true that Bell looked flustered and never had any sort of rhythm. It's true that Bell made some questionable decisions with the football.

And, yes, it's true that there are a lot of things about the 2013 Red River Rivalry that the Sooners would like to forget. 

But moving Trevor Knight back up the depth chart over Bell would be a snap decision. That's not to say Knight couldn't or shouldn't see playing time. The redshirt freshman provides an extra boost in the running game Bell doesn't, but Bell gives the Sooners a better chance to win. 

Even after a tough loss, Sooners coach Bob Stoops understands that.

When asked if there would be more snaps for backup quarterbacks, Stoops replied (via the Tulsa World) "No, that’s not something we’re looking to do.

"Just because of everything we’ve seen last two or three games and everything we see in practice," Stoops said of Bell. "Not all of it is on him."

Bell was under duress the entire game. His two interceptions came in the face of pressure and he was sacked four times. What has separated Bell from Knight is the redshirt junior's composure in the pocket. It's hard to keep that composure when opposing defenses are constantly in the backfield.  

That's a reflection on Texas' defense, as well as Oklahoma's offensive line. The Longhorns simply won the battle in the trenches. 

Texas won on the perimeter too. Oklahoma's passing offense this year has revolved around quick passes that allow receivers to have one-on-one matchups in space. The Horns' secondary did a good job of keeping those plays in front of them for minimal gain. 

Oklahoma had no short passing game and no real protection while playing from behind. What was Bell supposed to do?

This was a game where Texas outplayed Oklahoma in just about every imaginable way. If Bell was to be replaced based on poor performance, then a majority of OU's starting 22 would be new for the Sooners' next game against Kansas. 


Ben Kercheval is the lead writer for Big 12 football. All quotes obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise. You can follow Ben on Twitter @BenKercheval