NORMAN, Okla. -- For Texas, facing Oklahoma means trying to stop super-sized Sooners quarterback Blake Bell.
“Bell is hard to tackle in space,” said Texas Head Coach Mack Brown.
“Bulldozer to Belldozer -- it's brilliant," said Oklahoma center Gabe Ikard.
“He's a big guy, and hard to bring down because he's big,” said Texas defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat.
Size is certainly one of Bell’s biggest assets. He’s 6-foot-6 and tops 250 lbs., and sometimes his teammates can’t get out of his way fast enough.
“Gabe said that the hardest hit he took in a game a couple of weeks ago was when Blake ran into him from behind,” said Oklahoma fullback Trey Millard.
“Yeah, he's a big guy,” Ikard said. “It's one of those things; you have a great quarter -- it’s great until he runs into you.”
Bell became the starter in week three when he replaced Trevor Knight. The result was a 31-point win over Tulsa, followed by wins against Notre Dame and TCU.
"You know, Blake has shown great poise,” said Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops. “He hasn't played all that much yet. He is throwing the ball well but again, there is room for improvement there.”
"I've been encouraged to see that he can throw the football efficiently,” said Dean Blevins, an Oklahoma sportscaster and former Sooners quarterback. “He's not as accurate as Sam Bradford or Landry Jones, but he can improve in that area. He's off to a good start.”
Bell was limited to short-yardage situations the last two years, and before this year, had thrown only 20 passes. So the short-yardage game became his specialty.
In last year’s Texas-OU game, he scored four one-yard touchdowns.
"Whenever I get in there, all I can do is do my best and try to get into end zone," Bell said.
Bell has already won his first starts, just like Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford. Now he's getting ready for his first start against Texas.
“Yeah, it's a big week,” he said. “I know everyone gets real excited for it, a big rivalry with Texas. This is the reason someone would want to come here and play quarterback, is for games like this.”
Bell grew up with football. His father, Mark was a defensive end for the Seahawks and Colts. His uncle Mike played 12 seasons as a defensive end for the Chiefs.
For Blake, he's learning to be the man under center.
“He is so unique with his big size and frame, and he's run over us the last couple of years in short yardage and goal line, but they're doing a really good job of staying spread out, being physical, and running the ball, and Bell is a big part of that,” Brown said.
He’s a big part of the offense in more ways than one.