Fox's top college football broadcasting team of play-by-play announcer Gus Johnson, analyst Charles Davis and sideline reporter Kristina Pink will be in Norman on Saturday night to call the West Virginia-OU game. Davis discussed the teams in a phone interview Wednesday night:
What's your impression of new OU starting quarterback Trevor Knight?
“I really like him a lot. You can see that ability to move around. You can see why the run game is going to be part of Oklahoma's offense again. And I totally believe the coaches when they say he was actually chosen for his arm. He wasn't accurate, but you can see he can throw the football. They're not trotting him out there simply to make some kind of a point or to change the offense. It's not going to be Jamelle Holieway coming back. He's out there because of his arm first, but his running ability is the total package. I thought it was really telling when we didn't see any Belldozer because they know he can run the same things in a sense. He may not pick it up looking all powerful, but now you're options are expanded while he stays on the field. ... The problem is that kid from Florida State (Jameis Winston) blew the doors off everybody, 25 of 27 as a freshman. Everybody is like, “Why didn't our guy do that?”
Do you think Mike Stoops' retooled defense is improved?
“I think no doubt it's going to be improved. I think they had an entire offseason with some pretty good defensive minds re-evaluating how they were doing things. What I keep telling people is what I've seen around the country, some of the best defensive minds we know are struggling with today's offenses. Monte Kiffin went back to the NFL rather than continue to deal with the college offenses. He was getting lit up. You think about the Stoops brothers and the problems they've had with slowing people down. Bo Pelini (Nebraska coach). I did the Big Ten championship game. He had 70 put on him. ... What I come away from it thinking is, these guys didn't all of a sudden forget to coach. You don't have to same ability to match up that you used to. They go at such a pace, and you try to find 11 guys who can hybrid and play any situation for you, it's very difficult to do.
“Mike Stoops is committed to having the linebackers on the field, but he can do that because those linebackers are really athletic. They are really glorified strong safeties anymore, but they're bigger. When you look at (Corey) Nelson and (Frank) Shannon, these guys can play. He likes to have them on the field, so he doesn't have to change up a lot of stuff. The guy that really caught my eye was (Eric) Striker. He seemed very fast and his ability to come off the edge was a little extra dimension for them. And (Charles) Tapper, he looked like an OU defensive lineman looked like. In the last couple of years, I don't think they have had that. I think they will play faster and have more confidence of being able to match up with these super fast offenses.”
Will West Virginia after struggling against William & Mary play better Saturday?
“I do in a lot of ways. They are really young. Getting off to that first start for the quarterback. He (Paul Millard) threw 19 passes, which equaled the number of attempts in his career. And it's an adjustment for all these receivers. I would dare West Virginia fans to name them now. You get used to (Tavon) Austin and (Stedman) Bailey; they're not there. Who are the new guys? How do they develop? I think the running back is a legit player in Charles Sims, coming out of Conference USA in Houston. I think he can play in any conference anywhere. He's that good and that versatile. They are very young up front. It will be interesting to see what kind of pace they want to play. We're used to West Virginia going at a good clip. Will they want to still play at that pace with this quarterback, or will we see them slow down a bit for them?”