The Riverboat Gambler rides again.
Bob Stoops lost his reputation as a risk-taker in recent years, but the Oklahoma coach was back at his old ways Thursday afternoon when he named Trevor Knight the Sooners' starting quarterback.
This was a gutsy call.
Naming Blake Bell the starter would've been the safe choice for Stoops, Josh Heupel and anyone else involved in this decision. Bell is the quarterback everyone expected to be the starter. He's a fourth-year player. A talented guy. A fiery leader. A fan favorite.
The truth is, Bell might've been more than a safe choice. He might've been a fantastic choice. He has scored a bunch of touchdowns these past couple years as The Belldozer, and after watching him sling it around last spring, it's easy to envision him excelling as the full-time starter.
But Stoops and Co. believe Knight will excel even more, believe it so completely in fact that they stuck out their necks and picked him.
Their decision is bound to make for a tough few days. Bell will be disappointed, maybe even devastated — no one can blame him for that — and there will likely be some hurt feelings from his buddies in the locker room, too.
The Sooners rarely have such drama because Stoops usually goes with the veterans. Most of the time, he picks them largely because they're the best ones for the job, but there's also something to be said for rewarding guys who spend years working hard as backups.
But even with that, this decision could pay great dividends if Knight excels.
There are the immediate benefits, of course. Knight could super-charge this offense, extending plays with his legs like hasn't been done in decades. Not since the days of Barry Switzer's wishbone teams have the Sooners had an elusive, elite-level quarterback. If Knight's on-field skills tend toward Johnny Manziel and Braxton Miller, that would add another dimension to an already productive and dangerous offense.
But think beyond this season, too. If Knight is something special, he could be the starter for the next three or four years. I guess if he's really something special, he could be the starter for the next two years, then bolt for the NFL, but that seems to be getting a wee bit ahead of ourselves here.
A week ago today, everyone thought Knight might run a specialty package, come in for a few plays for Bell, switch things up and give the guy a breather.
Now, Knight is the guy.
Pulling the trigger on this decision took some serious intestinal fortitude by Bob Stoops. But as a result, Sooner Nation got a starting quarterback and an appearance from the Riverboat Gambler.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.