Trevor Knight’s injury, while bad news for Trevor Knight, actually was good news for OU football politics.
It’s the best of both worlds for Bob Stoops. He gets to make the quarterback switch I believe he was going to make anyway, yet without the stigma of announcing that Knight had been benched.
“That doesn’t matter,” Stoops said Monday. “We would do what we feel we needed to do. (But) I don’t have that choice, because Trevor got hurt.”
Maybe so. But Knight’s bruised knee works out great for the Sooners. Losing your job is never easy, and it can be a blow to confidence. But Knight is spared the full indignity of being replaced, because of the injury. Knight still knows that he was pulled in the fourth quarter of the West Virginia game, and if Bell plays well, it will be difficult to retake the job. But it’s still better than being replaced with no injury factor at all.
We’ve heard for decades that some coaches believe you don’t lose your job via injury. I’ve always thought that was a silly premise. Coaches play the player they think is best, and just because they discover that Quarterback B is better than Quarterback A only after Quarterback A is injured, they won’t hesitate to keep Quarterback B in the game.
Stoops said as much. “I don’t have a position on that. I’m sure through my years, some have, some have not,” he said of returning a player to the lineup after returning from an injury. “A guy that’s played for three years, already earned that, we know what he can do. I’m likely to put him back. Guy that hasn’t, don’t know.”
So the OU quarterback job is clear to me. It’s Bell’s job for now. Now meaning the Tulsa game on Saturday. After that, an open date. Knight is expected back by Notre Dame on Sept. 28, and Kendal Thompson starts practicing Monday.
So it’s Bell’s job to lose. Just as Saturday against West Virginia, it was Knight’s job to lose, and he went a long way toward losing it. Even if Stoops doesn’t have to say so, thanks to the injury.