Insight Bowl MVP Discussion Agitates Stoops

CHANDLER, Ariz. — It's not the fact that his 6-foot-6, 245-pound bulldozing Belldozer received the Offensive Most Valuable Player that upset head coach Bob Stoops.

But the manner in which a reporter phrased a question afterwards about Blake Bell earning the award frustrated the 13-year Sooner coach.

Bell, who finished with three touchdowns and 51 yards on 10 attempts, "out-shined" quarterback Landry Jones, who was 16-of-25 for 161 yards and a touchdown but an interception.

At least, according to one reporter.

That set Stoops off.

"Well, I think first of all, it's a foolish statement, whoever asked the question, to phrase it that way," said Stoops, whose Sooners triumphed 31-14 in the Insight Bowl over Iowa. "You could have said how's it feel that he got it and you didn't? But now to say he outplayed him isn't close to [accurate]."

Jones, of course, is the starting quarterback and finished with more than 4,400 passing yards and 29 touchdowns despite going a 15-quarter stretch without tossing one.

He ended that drought the other night when he found tight end Trent Ratterree for a 4-yard score.

He also stretched out a 7-yard run on a crucial third-and-6 play and absorbed a devastating blow to the head.

And he all around just flat out showed heart in guiding his team to an Insight Bowl victory.

Still, it was Bell who got the praise.

"Both of them know that [one didn't outplay the other]," Stoops said. "The team knows that and we know that. In the end, Landry's a smart guy, I think, and humble guy and knows he can't control everything. And I think it's kinda, to me, also think it's short-sided and odd that the network would have done that. When they said it to me up on the stage, I was shocked. I was like, ‘What?' And I have nothing against Blake, so don't phrase it that way.

"We love the guy and what he does is really special, but here's another guy who's been out there getting sacked, getting his tooth chipped and bringing us down there, and just because it's on the five and everyone knows we want to run it, you know, you find the best way you can run it. And that's getting the extra body."

Don't worry about any jealousy or ill feelings between the two, though, should Jones return for another season.

Their exchange after the game should be an indication of that.

"Landry's in there getting showered up with me after the press conference and he [said to Bell], ‘You didn't even shower and you stink,'" Stoops said. "Landry's kidding him, and he says, ‘What did I play, only nine or 10 plays?' And he gets the MVP. Can you believe they gave that to him? Geeze, oh man."

No doubt, a situation like this could make a pair of players envious of each other.

But Stoops said Jones has the right head on his shoulders not to allow that to happen.

"Yeah, I think so, definitely [it could cause chemistry issues without the right guys]," Stoops said. "And like I said all week, those three are paling around together, going to meetings, walking down the hall together and like I said, Landry's in the shower teasing Blake that he didn't even shower. And Blake throws back at him, ‘Well, I only played nine plays, so and I'm the MVP.'"

Safe to say Stoops was agitated with the reporter who made the comments, but not with his pair of quarterbacks or even Bell winning the MVP over Jones.

After all, both contributed to this winning decision over Iowa.

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