NORMAN, Okla . - Man, does Oklahoma need a good game from Blake Bell.
Not to beat Tulsa. No, the Sooners could survive the Golden Hurricane this Saturday with a less-than-stellar or remotely-newsworthy performance from OU's starting quarterback.
The Sooners need a good game from Bell because of what's next on the schedule.
And no, not the off week.
OU is home against Tulsa at 11 a.m. Saturday and then gets to play at Notre Dame on Sept. 28. A good game by Bell means the Sooners will in all likelihood start him again against the Irish.
A struggle against Tulsa by Bell could be tough to imagine.
So far this season, OU has already started a freshman and benched a freshman quarterback. Trevor Knight won't play against Tulsa, due to a bruised knee, but he wasn't so good when he was healthy, either, completing 11-of-28 in the first game and 10-of-20 in the second game before Bell replaced him early in the 4th quarter against West Virginia.
If Bell's performance is lacking, you could very well see Kendal Thompson get the start against the Irish, and having someone make their first-career start at Notre Dame is asking a lot of anyone.
Thompson has just 1 week of practice this season. He fractured his foot on the first day of August workouts. He has no career starts, but an injury to Bell or a lack-luster performance from Bell will leave OU with only one more option, especially if Knight doesn't get healthy from his bruised knee injury.
The best-case scenario is for Bell to put up some numbers, get a lead and then make way for Thompson to get some game experience. That's certainly conceivable. But it's not unrealistic to think Bell won't be a star in his first-career start, either.
"They are all pretty much the same," coach Bob Stoops said of the quarterback race between the three this August. "They all can run and they all can throw. There's not a lot of difference."
Exactly, so if there's not a lot of difference, then there's no reason to think Bell has anything but a short leash. He could get yanked quickly.
"I'm sure there's some rust," Stoops said. "I think his arm will be in great condition. I expect him to knock that rust off and catch up fast."
What they really need to hope for is that Thompson doesn't have to – at least not in a game situation.
The last thing anyone on the OU sideline wants is Thompson trying to figure everything out against Notre Dame.