Trevor Knight’s debut wasn’t pristine – 11 of 28 passing is not 20th-century quality passing, much less 21st century – in OU’s 34-0 rout of Louisiana-Monroe last Saturday.
But Knight was solid in one important aspect. Ballhandling. Knight ran the shotgun option with precision.
“The run game and all the reads, pulling the ball down, was all really positive,” Bob Stoops said. “That’s another thing, as a team, there wasn’t a fumble, guys took care of the ball.”
The shotgun option can have some dicey moments. The decision to hand the ball to the tailback, or not, can lead to misplays, especially for a team that is all of one game into this new offense.
“It’s a good point,” Stoops said. “People think, you just run it.” But no. “It’s a time investment,” Stoops said. “It’s a big time investment. Ask anyone who wants to run the option. It has to be drilled and drilled and drilled. With that play, yes, there is a big time investment.”
Stoops said that over the past several months, “I didn’t get frustrated. I just knew it was going to take time.”
Stoops admitted that the success other teams have had with the offense prompted the Sooners to take a look at it.
He said the option out of the spread stresses a defense to “where they do get more focused on stopping the run and it can change coverages. Pull people out of the secondary, come up and stop it. Fewer people deep when you do start throwing it. Makes them more susceptible to play-action passes. And you’ve got an extra guy blocking when the quarterback runs the ball.”
Like all options, when the offense doesn’t know exactly what will happen, there’s an element of risk. But the early returns on the Sooner switch were positive.