The OU spring game Saturday brought more questions than answers. That’s what happens when quarterbacks are involved.
While Baker Mayfield completed all nine of his passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns, Trevor Knight completed just five of 14 passes.
Yes, Knight had few receivers open. Yes, Knight went against a first-team defense feeling awfully proud of itself. Yes, Mayfield went against the second-team defense.
But still, you’d hope for more out of Knight. Let’s see; 32 of 44 for 348 yards and four TDs vs. Alabama, then 5 of 12 for 53 yards in the spring scrimmage.
And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s good for the coaches, to know that Knight remains a work in progress; good for the fans, to know that 2014 success is not guaranteed and has to be earned; good for Knight, who knows that the magic of the Sugar Bowl is not automatic.
Let’s review Knight’s passing history:
Louisiana-Monroe: 11 of 28 for 86 yards, three TDs, one interception;
West Virginia: 10 of 20 for 119 yards, one TD, two interceptions;
Iowa State: 8 of 14 for 61 yards, no TDs or interceptions;
Kansas State: 14 of 20 for 171 yards, one TD, one interception;
OSU: 3 of 7 for 28 yards, no TDs or interceptions;
Alabama: 32 of 44 for 348 yards, four TDs, one interception.
There are lots of reasons to be optimistic about Knight. But right now, the Sugar Bowl is the outlier.
If it makes you feel any better, Mayfield’s spring game performance is his outlier, in his freshman season at Texas Tech in 2013:
SMU: 43 of 60 for 413 yards, four TDs, no interceptions.
Stephen F. Austin: 21 of 30 for 367 yards, three TDs, no interceptions.
TCU: 21 of 40 for 216 yards, one TD, three interceptions.
Texas State: 14 of 20 for 124 yards, zero TDs, one interception.
Kansas: 33 of 51 for 368 yards, zero TDs, one interception.
Kansas State: 34 of 44 for 276 yards, zero TDs, two interceptions.
Baylor: 28 of 51 for 314 yards, four TDs, one interception.
Texas: 24 of 44 for 237 yards, zero TDs, one interception.
So Mayfield’s resume’ shows three quality games, one against top-level competition (Baylor), one against so-so competition (SMU) and one against competition that doesn’t count (Stephen F.).
In five Big 12 games, Mayfield had five touchdown passes and eight interceptions. In four Big 12 games, Knight had two TD passes and three interceptions. Plus Knight has Alabama.
All very interesting and all very complicated, if there indeed was a quarterback derby at OU. There’s not. The job is Knight’s, and Mayfield’s mission is quite clear. Push Knight to recapture the splendor of New Orleans.