Since the middle of the 2011 season Oklahoma Sooners fans have had a real treat as they have been able to watch junior quarterback Blake Bell doze his way to glory for the Sooners. And while he’s been a tremendous weapon in the run game, picking up first downs and touchdowns with regularity, the parallels between he and former Florida Gator Tim Tebow cannot be denied. Let’s make a few comparisons and see if we can predict what the future might hold for Bell.
One key difference between the two is Bell redshirted his freshman year, whereas Tebow made his initial impact as a true freshman. But looking first year to first year, there are some striking similarities. Both players came in as a run specialist, benching the incumbent, and in many cases to the cheers of the faithful. For Bell his role in 2011 was as more of a novelty, as quarterback Landry Jones was in more command of the offense.
But looking at 2012 for Bell to 2006 for Tebow, there is much alike in terms of how both were received by their fans. Tebow saw more snaps than Bell has to this point, and his packages called for him to throw more, but the skill sets of them are very similar and their ability to swing the tide of a game back to their team is almost identical. Also, by all accounts Bell is a very likeable, gregarious, and a born leader, which is also a lot like what Tebow was for the Florida Gators.
So, as I look forward to the 2013 season, I do so with so much excitement. I expect Sooners head coach Bob Stoops to work Bell into a full time role in the offense adding more wrinkles, and utilizing Bell’s ability to throw the football. No matter which recruits come in, this team belongs to Bell now.
Tebow had three years as the starter where Bell will only get two. But I invite everyone to dig a little and find some video of Bell in high school. Tebow in high school was a run first quarterback, but for Bell, he was the no.1 pro style quarterback in the country. He’s never had a chance to show it, but make no mistake he is a better thrower than Tebow. He might not be quite the runner, but that was never his game. This is something he’s developed in college as hes gained 40lbs in his time at Oklahoma.
Can Bell have the sort of individual and team success Tebow had? I would say yes. He won’t have three years to do it, but there is nothing to say that he can’t lead his team to great success on his legs and his arm over the next two seasons. He’s going to have a very talented team around him, and there’s no doubt he has the talent. It might take him some time to get up to speed, but I can see him a Heisman frontrunner as a Senior and his team a Championship contender.
As a Sooner fan, I am uber excited to see Bell in charge of my favorite team. He could very well redefine the position, at least from an OU perspective. Fans have all grown so accustomed to the high-powered quick passing game from a pocket quarterback, a player like Bell in full control is going to be something different, and I have a feeling something special. Bell is probably going to trim down a little, get a little quicker and more explosive with his feet and he’s going to work hard to throw to all these skills players he has. Build rapport with them, and get that timing down. If the Sooners choose to implement a hybrid run/pass offense that allows Bell to work on the ground as well as through the air, the Sooners new dimension to the offense will make them very difficult to defend.
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