Stoops sticking with Bell

Quarterback play is the No. 1 question for Sooners right now. Despite some fans clamoring for change, doesn't look like it will happen.

Oklahoma isn't in this position all too often. Second week of November and any dream of a Big 12 championship is squarely out the window.

And it's not that a 7-2 record is bad, but OU fans aren't accustomed to not be thinking about conference championships.

OU could start playing for the future. It wouldn't be a bad idea to give a lot of the young guys more experience. Especially on the defensive side of the ball where the Sooners are set to have just about everybody back from this season.

It should also give OU coach Bob Stoops reason to smile.

"I don't want to jump to next year yet, but I think we'll have – guys that were out there this week and last week – we'll have nine starters back, nine or 10 on defense," Stoops said. "I believe we'll be much better there and then offensively our quarterback play will continue to improve. I believe that."

He doesn't believe, however, that a change is necessary at the quarterback spot. There were several questions Monday regarding Kendal Thompson and Trevor Knight and the prospects of them perhaps getting more playing time. Perhaps throwing in a new wrinkle to the offense to see if it works.

Stoops wasn't having any of that, stating definitively Blake Bell is still the guy. It's not odd for Stoops to stand behind a quarterback. And for some, they look at that as a strong trait.

The issue, though, is the inconsistent play at quarterback and the fact the Sooners aren't getting the production they need. That even without the production, no change is forthcoming. That's the issue.

"I'm not going to grade it in front of everybody," Stoops said. "It's been inconsistent. That's the fairest thing to say. I'm not going to sit here and give a grade publicly to everybody.

"I'm not going to sit here and make wholesale changes in the ninth game of the year when we've done some good things through the year."

Bell had another uneven performance last week. It's not just the stats although 15-of-35 for 150 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions isn't fantastic by any means, it's the body language. It's the leadership. It didn't feel like it was there.

When Bell doesn't get rolling, it seems to be a trickledown effect to the rest of the team. OU feeds off his energy, and when he's off like he was Thursday, it's a huge problem.

Stoops said it was a problem. Once again making people wonder why something, anything can't be done during the last three games of the season.

"We could've executed our passing game better last week," Stoops said. "There were plays and routes that were open, and we've got to be able to hit them. We've got to throw it more accurate in some instances. That would help."

Is Bell the best option? And if he is, does that say anything about the talent at OU right now? Stoops said there's no guarantee Thompson would go out there and set the world on fire. True, very true, but why not a shot?

The transition from being a great practice player to being great in games is tough and unknown. So yeah, as of now, we don't know how Thompson would respond. Don't you kind of want to find out?

Knight looked skittish in his first two starts of the season. With more seasoning now, maybe he's in a better spot mentally to take on the challenge. Why not?

Stoops doesn't see it as something feasible to do, to make a move at the position for evaluation purposes down the line.

"Well I guess you could if you were just looking to next year," Stoops said. "I can see where at times an NFL team that's got two wins and they're on to next year might want to evaluate someone that way but not in our case."

Like it or not, it's going to be more of Bell on Saturday.

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