Berry Tramel

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Oklahoma football: Time to find out if Trevor Knight can play

by Berry Tramel Modified: November 19, 2013 at 9:40 am •  Published: November 19, 2013

Oklahoma's Trevor Knight (9) runs in for a touchdown during the college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Iowa State University Cyclones (ISU) at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla. on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma's Trevor Knight (9) runs in for a touchdown during the college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Iowa State University Cyclones (ISU) at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla. on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

Bob Stoops declined to name a starting quarterback for the OU-Kansas State game Saturday. Which is silly and beside the point.

Trevor Knight will start at quarterback. You know it, I know it, Stoops knows it. Heck, even Bill Snyder knows it. Does Stoops think he can slip one past that goaltender?

The question is really not about these last three games of a disappointing 2013 season (yes, disappointing; standing fourth place in a watered-down Big 12 is disappointing). The question is, who will quarterback the Sooners next season, when OU returns a bunch of players and conceivably could be the preseason Big 12 pick if it has any hope at quarterback?

The most likely answer is Knight, and not just because of the way he played for three quarters against Iowa State. Knight has really QB’d 10 quarters this season – against Louisiana-Monroe, West Virginia and Iowa State. It’s time to find out how Knight will look in a cauldron. Manhattan against a feisty K-State team and Stillwater against an O-State team that could be playing for the Big 12 title? Both qualify.

Remember last week, when all of Sooner Nation clamored to find out if Kendal Thompson could play? Kendal Thompson? It’s time to find out if Trevor Knight can play.

The truth is, OU’s best quarterback this season has been Blake Bell. But he’s played in an offense ill-suited to his talents – the shotgun option is made for nimble-footed quarterbacks. When we compared Bell to a Ben Roethlisberger-style QB, the comparisons were valid. Big Ben is not a stationary quarterback, but he can’t run the plays that Colin Kaepernick or Robert Griffin run. Asking him to do so only hurts the cause.

So it’s time to find out if Knight can handle this offense. He obviously can make all the runs and reads. But can he throw effectively? If so, the Sooners have a quarterback. If not, the job is wide open come spring.

But at least one OU coach – prominent OU coach – talks like Knight can get the job done.

After the Sooners’ 48-10 rout of Iowa State on Saturday, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops was asked about Knight. Stoops said a quarterback who can run and throw “puts a lot of stress” on a defense. Well, we know Knight can run. Can he throw?

“I know he can throw the football,” Stoops said. “I know he can throw it well. His accuracy will come. He will be a tremendous thrower when it’s all said and done. I believe he has a tremendous arm.”

Stoops said Knight still needs to learn touch and improve his accuracy. But he said Knight has the arm strength and athletic ability to be a winner in the shotgun option. That kind of quarterback makes it difficult on defenses.

“We’re going to see it next week against Kansas State,” Stoops said. “They have every pass play off quarterback runs.

“It’s a system that has to be built around players’ strengths.”

Sound advice. That wasn’t happening with Blake Bell. The hybrid offense, asking Bell to mix a Landry Jones spread with a Trevor Knight option, wasn’t working at all. Time to commit, one way or the other. Which means it’s time to find out if committing to Knight is the right move.

 


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...
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