Encouraging Knight to be careful will be a delicate balancing act. Running is one of the skills that makes him effective. He didn’t run a ton against Alabama, but the mere threat of him taking off kept the Crimson Tide honest and the passing game clicking along. But when the quarterback run wasn’t part of the plan in the spring game, Knight’s effectiveness dropped dramatically. Receivers weren’t as open and passes weren’t as easy.
Knight must run and scramble to keep defenses guessing and to be at his best. But even he knows he has to strike a balance.
“Being smart with the ball,” he said.
“Getting it into my playmakers’ hands and allowing them to do the work.”
It’s entirely possible that the injuries Knight suffered last season were just flukes, never to happen again. And yet, neither play was out of the ordinary.
When he hurt his knee late in the first half against West Virginia, he was running up the middle when a defender dove to wrap up his legs. The defender’s helmet hit Knight’s knee.
Bizarre? Uncommon? Strange?
Same for the play on which Knight separated his shoulder in Bedlam. He was scrambling up the sideline and heading for the end zone. He dove and landed on his shoulder. Nothing crazy. Something he might do a time or two a game.
So, was Knight just unlucky or does he need to be more careful?
And the fact that he already knows a thing or two about how to slide is a big help. There are lots of quarterbacks who shouldn’t slide because, frankly, they aren’t very good at it.
“Hopefully,” Knight said, “I can do a decent job.”
There’s no guarantee he’ll always be safe, but his chance of staying healthy goes up and the Sooners’ chance of winning a title goes up, too.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.