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Oklahoma football: The zone read will be in this season

OU’s coaches are confident Trevor Knight’s arm will be more like what he showed in the Sugar Bowl, but they also expect his ability to run to be a big part of the offense.
by Ryan Aber Published: August 16, 2014
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photo - Oklahoma's Trevor Knight (9) runs past  State's Randall Evans (15) during an NCAA college football game between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Kansas State University Wildcats at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013. Oklahoma won 41-31. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma's Trevor Knight (9) runs past State's Randall Evans (15) during an NCAA college football game between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Kansas State University Wildcats at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013. Oklahoma won 41-31. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

It was Knight’s feet, not his arm, that gave opponents fits last season when OU’s offense was successful.

He ran for more yards (103) than he passed for (86) in last season’s opener against Louisiana-Monroe. Even at the end of the season, he ran for nearly twice as many yards as he passed for before leaving the Bedlam game with an injury.

Sooners coaches are confident Knight’s arm will be more like what he showed in the Sugar Bowl but they also expect his ability to run — whether in the zone read or when plays break down — to be a big part of the offense.

“I think it adds a whole other dimension that people have to defend,” Norvell said. “We basically are running very much the same offense that we’ve always run. We’ve added that element and it just gives the defense something else to deal with. It’s hard. We put a lot of pressure on the perimeter players on the front line, the defensive ends, the SAM-backers.”

Knight has also had to work to develop chemistry with a new group of running backs with the zone read.

While Brennan Clay was the primary back when the Sooners used the package last season, it’ll likely be either Keith Ford, Alex Ross or Samaje Perine running it.

With a quick decision to be made after making the read, the timing between the quarterback and running back has to be on target in order for the package to work.

“You have to get the mesh point a certain way so the guys can clamp down on the ball,” Knight said. “That comes with repetition. There isn’t one guy who does it a whole lot better than the other one.”

by Ryan Aber
OU Athletics Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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