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Stoops Confirms Bell To Play Tight End Next Season

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NORMAN, Oklahoma -

Blake Bell's journey as an Oklahoma football player has taken several interesting turns over the years.

First, he became a national phenom for his role as the "Belldozer" in short-yardage situations. Then, he took over the starting quarterback job for several games this season, defeating Notre Dame on the road, but flopping against Texas and Baylor. The up-and-down season ended on a high note, though, as Bell led a last-minute drive to defeat Oklahoma State in Bedlam.

Now, Bell is in for the strangest part of his journey yet.

OU coach Bob Stoops and offensive coordinator Josh Heupel confirmed on Wednesday that Bell would be making the switch to tight end for the 2014 season.

"We're excited that, even though he could graduate and go somewhere else, he wants to stay here and finish out and he wants to try tight end," Stoops said. "I think it's a great fit. Blake has the size, athleticism, the speed to do that. He's exhibited his toughness through the years. It's something we're looking forward to."

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Ultimately, it was Bell's idea to make the position switch rather than pursue a transfer to continue playing quarterback. Kendal Thompson has already made the decision to transfer, but he graduated early and still has two years of eligibility remaining compared to just one for Bell. Instead of transferring and still not being guaranteed a starting role, Bell decided to do whatever it took to help OU win.

"During the break, he was uncertain of what he was going to do," Heupel said. "He approached me when I got back in town before I went back on the road recruiting and we had the conversation. Because of that, he decided he wanted to make the change."

In 2005 and 2006, Paul Thompson went from starting quarterback to wide receiver, then back to quarterback for the 2006 season when Rhett Bomar was kicked off the team. While Bell could still be available at quarterback in emergency situations, Heupel said Bell is "all in" at tight end, with no plans to return to quarterback.

Bell's competitive nature has been quite plain during his time in Norman, and his desire to win over gaining personal glory and satisfaction is what led him to make one final, interesting change to his time at Oklahoma.

"Blake wants to play; he wants to help this team; he wants to compete, and believes that's a great position for him to do that," Heupel said. "Everyone on our staff believes in him as a competitor and a player, so it's going to be a lot of fun for him to make the change."

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