When Brian Kelly met with the media this week he had a lot of positive things to say about The University of Oklahoma and junior quarterback Blake Bell. He went as far as to say that Bell is one of the biggest differences between this year's game and last year.
"Offensively very similar (to last year), the difference being Landry Jones to Bell; now you have a guy that can run the football at the quarterback position." - Brian Kelly
Kelly stated that having a quarterback like Bell who can tuck and run, or pursue multiple options on any given play, provides a schematic challenge for his defense.
"I think from a scheme standpoint, they put you in a position where you have to cover a lot of different scenarios. You know, you're put in a very difficult position when you can be running the football and have options to throw, as well. You know, that constant bind that the running quarterback gives you is a stress on your defense."
Granted Bell is more nimble than Landry Jones and has the possibility to make plays with his feet, but Kelly went on to state that the main threat from Bell is his arm.
"He threw it to really fast receivers. He's got an outstanding receiving corps. You know, he's got a nice touch on the ball, a good presence about him. He looked like a thrower, not a runner. I know he's a big, physical strong kid, and I think he was used last year more in the goal line offense. He's much more than a goal line offense quarterback. He's a skilled passer of the football, and I think he maybe got a reputation that is not really fitting of who he is. I think he was a five star quarterback, and he can throw the football. There's no question about that."
As far as Oklahoma's entire offense is concerned, Kelly sees them as deep and balanced with Bell being the centerpiece of the group.
"Well, they're very balanced. They've run the football extremely well, and this past or two weekends ago really showed their ability to throw the football. Bell threw extremely well vertically. He's got a nice touch on the football, and he's got one week it's one receiver. This past weekend Sterling Shepard had eight catches. I mean, they just have great depth and they find their big play receivers.
We have to minimize the big chunk plays, and that's one of our goals each and every week: Minimizing those big chunk plays. We were able to do that last year. We're going to have to do it this year if we want to win the football games."
There's no doubt that there will be a lot of pressure on Bell this Saturday afternoon. If he can effectively spread the ball around it will ease up things a bit on the Sooner rushing attack. However, the biggest challenge of the afternoon comes up front where Notre Dame dominated on both sides of the ball last season. If Oklahoma can't do a better job at making holes for the backs and keeping pressure out of the backfield than they did last fall then we could easily be talking about the long afternoon that Blake Bell had to endure on Saturday.