SI Take 3: Bell ready to make move

OU coach Bob Stoops was back to addressing the media, two days from the start of spring practice for the Sooners.

Spring football is still two days away, but Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops addressed the media for the first time Thursday afternoon.

As it was during the season, Sooners Illustrated is back to recap the three most important things from the conference.

Take No. 1: Bell excited about change in position

One of the biggest piece of news from the winter is with the position change of Blake Bell, moving from quarterback to tight end.

With sophomore Trevor Knight firmly the man at quarterback, Bell was open toward changing positions. That change is in full effect now as Stoops said Bell is not going to take one rep at quarterback during the spring.

"Blake has made a great transition to tight end," Stoops said. "He has done a great job in building his strength and size. He's up to about 257 pounds right now."

The weight hasn't been a real issue for Bell. He cut back a little, Stoops said, last year because of being at quarterback. He hasn't this winter, but Stoops is happy with him being around 257 pounds.

Bell obviously initially made his mark in Norman running the BellDozer formation from the quarterback position. The move to tight end doesn't mean the BellDozer is officially out of the picture.

"The BellDozer is not officially dead," Stoops said. "It's something we could still use."

Redshirt freshman Cody Thomas is set to be the backup with true freshman Justice Hansen getting valuable practice time as an early enrollee at quarterback.

Take No. 2: Multiple players sitting out but no cause for concern

The roster will be pretty thin as is with so many players graduated or moving on from the program, but OU will also be without four vital contributors this spring.

Stoops said defensive tackle Jordan Phillips, nickelback Julian Wilson and offensive linemen Tyrus Thompson and Adam Shead will not participate in spring practice.

Wilson is a new name to the list as Stoops said he had a shoulder operation during the offseason.

But Stoops isn't worried about the long term health of his team. He is so confident Thompson will return that Daryl Williams won't be at left tackle during the spring and instead will stay at right tackle.

The same can be said for the other three as Stoops is confident all of them will be ready for the season and is even less worried about them because all four played valuable time on the field last season.

Take No. 3: Competition is going to be fierce

The theme of this spring is going to be competition at a lot of positions. It's one reason why Stoops said this is his favorite time of year because he loves seeing what the young guys can do.

Quarterback is one of the few spots where the competition won't be as intense for playing time compared to the secondary and wide receivers.

The Sooners are losing a bevy of top wideouts and defensive backs from last year's squad, but that's just the nature of the game.

"This is a lot like last year where everybody said we didn't have a defensive line," Stoops said. "Now we don't have any wide receivers, but we do. These guys have been developing, training and they're ready to go."

There's almost too many names to mention at the spot. All that is solid is junior Sterling Shepard will no doubt be the go-to guy. Every other position is up for grabs.

The same can be said at cornerback. Zack Sanchez seems to have one spot locked up, but Stoops excited to see who comes out as the most consistent among the rest of the bunch.

Consistency is one of the goals of the spring.

"The overall team in every aspect – to improve," said Stoops about spring goals. "We're going to see a lot of competition, and we're excited about it."

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