Berry Tramel

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Oklahoma football: Emails in on Trevor Knight

by Berry Tramel Published: August 23, 2013

The emails are in on Trevor Knight being named the OU quarterback, and most fans are supportive.

Ron: “I wonder if Stoops would have made the same decision last year with a true freshman Knight if Landry Jones hadn’t returned for his senior year? Blake Bell COULD have excelled as the starter and delayed the mobile QB era.”

Excellent point. What if Landry had turned pro – which, heck, maybe he should have. He might have gone earlier than the fourth round. And if Landry had scooted, it’s likely Bell would have been the QB last season. Hard to envision a true freshman winning the job. More bad luck for Bell.

Jeff: “I think it’s great Knight got the starting job. I still believe Bell could have been just as good of a starter. Obviously the coaches see more of these guys than we do, and with the success of the OU offense, you have to trust the choice Stoops and Heupel made. With Knight starting, I’m sure we will still see plenty of Bell in the Belldozer set and wouldn’t be surprised to see him pass out of it more this year. Had Bell won the starting job, not so sure we would have seen many plays ran for Knight. I think this is a win-win situation for OU and their QB situation.”

I don’t know. If you’ve got a running threat at quarterback, the need for the Belldozer could recede. Of course, the presence of the ‘Dozer makes opponents use valuable prep time, so maybe the Sooners still will show it. But I wouldn’t count on it.

Spencer: “Actually, the mobile QB era at OU arrived when the Sooners signed Bell, Knight and Thompson.”

So let me get this straight. When OU signed Bell in February 2010, and Thompson in February 2011, and Knight in February 2012, the mobile quarterback era had arrived in Norman. And Ben Habern and Gabe Ikard were snapping the ball virtually every play to Landry Jones. I don’t think so.

Mickey: “I am amazed that Blake is not the starting QB at OU. Did he do something to get himself in the doghouse, or is his replacement that good?”

Trevor Knight is not Blake Bell’s replacement. Trevor Knight is Landry Jones’ replacement. We all presumed Bell would win, but this is a sign that coaches really do stage competitions.

Billy: “I watched a lot of high school highlights of Trevor Knight the last few days. His style of play reminds me of Tony Romo. The really good version of Tony Romo that has a very quick release and can throw accurately on the move. Hopefully, not the Romo that makes critical mistakes at the most inopportune times.”

You know, Romo actually is quite athletic for a 30something-year-old quarterback. But let’s hope Knight is a lot more athletic than Romo, else we’ve been sold a bill of goods.

Damian: “Did Stoops delay the announcement of Knight as QB so that Bell would have already attended classes, thus negating his ability to immediately transfer? I don’t claim to know the rules of transferring, but it seems I remember that once they go to class they can’t transfer until the end of the semester. Now if that is true Stoops is one smart card player. You sure don’t want to announce it last Thursday and have Bell quit the team and withdraw from school. That would leave you in the first few games with the true freshman Cody as your backup. With Bell locked into at least the semester, Stoops has a solid backup.”

Whatever Stoops’ motivations, they’ve been consistent. In five of his six QB derbies – 2001, 2002, 2005, 2007 and 2013 – he’s picked the starter between nine and 12 days before the season opener. But I doubt that was Stoops’ plan. If Bell had left, he would have had to sit out anyway, unless he transferred to a lower-level school. If Bells wants to leave, he can play this season, load up on schoolwork and graduate, then transfer somewhere and play immediately.

Randy: “That was a terrific article about the mobile QB era coming to OU. I agree that a mobile QB will be a great weapon for the Sooners. And while many readers commented that a healthy Jason White would have jump-started the Bob Stoops mobile QB era a decade ago, I must point out that during Coach Stoops’ tenure, the Sooners had a perfectly healthy and incredibly mobile QB years ago, who was never allowed to cut loose and run. Paul Thompson was an awesome runner as well as a gifted passer in high school. He was a track champion. I watched him play many games. He killed; 70-yard bomb down the right sideline on one play, followed by an 80-yard run right up the middle on the next play. Over and over I was told by his family and friends that the OU coaching staff would not let Paul run because they had no good back-up options should he get hurt. It’s a shame, too. He would have been dazzling.”

Interesting. But I don’t know. Thompson didn’t run much, but when he did run, I didn’t see a guy ablazing. In fact, it seemed clear to me that Rhett Bomar was a better runner than was Thompson.

Greg: “Picking Knight, essentially throwing a redshirt junior on the dust pile, committing to a major change in the OU offense, damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead, and all that other motivational crap. Stoops is really rolling the dice. Here is why. He really can’t retreat like he did with Thompson and go to Bomar. He has these two reversed in those same roles. The old guy is sitting and he is betting to an inside straight with the redshirt freshman. What is the risk? I detect some irritation on the part of the older players in the starting offensive lineup. It is very subtle. If it works, everyone is happy, jumps for joy, tells us how smart Bob Stoops is, etc. etc. etc. But, if Knight struggles, gets OU behind in a game, and especially if Bell comes in, does just better without being outstanding himself and OU loses this first game or one of the first three games, Stoops could lose this team on about every level. In picking Knight, whether he wants to call it that or not, he has basically said to Bell, ‘you are expendable, buddy. Beat your body to death for me.’ That’s what Bell has done for the two past years covering for shall we say, a less than adequate physical specimen in the red zone. Bell came in, used his body as the human battering ram in order to purify his credentials and now, uh, Blake go to the rear of the line. Because, Berry, by naming Knight as the starter, why would Bell  be the 2nd-string QB if you are truly committed to a Johnny Football offense? No, when Kendal Thompson gets healthy, he will be #2, and if he is better than Trevor Knight, and some on that team think he is, we will have this to do one more time if Knight has a bad game.”

Way too much soap opera here. I like Blake Bell, but he’s not entitled to the job. Trevor Knight won it, fair and square, at least for the opener. This is not  16th-century Europe. The oldest son does not take over the crown. Now, the part about Kendal Thompson, maybe so. But Blake Bell did not sacrifice anything by running the Belldozer the last year and a half, and while we all thought he would win the job, the job was not his by birthright.

Tom: “I know the fans only associate Blake Bell with touchdowns. He is a cult hero/rock star, and the fans love him. I was telling a friend that seeing is believing. It is hard to grasp that redshirt freshman Knight is beating out redshirt junior Bell when you can’t see the team practice or scrimmage. I remember Stoops going nuts when Bell was named the MVP in the Iowa bowl game. I think Stoops kind of resents that status. However, that status will haunt him if Bell doesn’t get a shot and Knight is not an immediate Sam Bradford. I can hear the boos rain in Owen Field.”

It will be interesting to see how Stoops and/or Knight respond to adversity. Will Stoops have a quick hook? I doubt it. Sounds like Knight is the man.

 


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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