STILLWATER — Oklahoma State's defense will face a running threat at quarterback Saturday when Trevor Knight trots out to start for the Sooners.
Nothing new to see here, says Cowboy defensive tackle Calvin Barnett.
“He's really no different,” Barnett said of Knight. “They (quarterbacks) can all run these days.”
Sure, Knight isn't the type of quarterback OSU has seen in Bedlam in recent years. Former Sooner Landry Jones is essentially the opposite of mobile and agile, though change-up guy Blake Bell did Belldoze his way into the end zone for the game-tying touchdown in the waning seconds of regulation in OU's overtime victory last season.
But the Big 12 schedule has already pegged a staunch OSU defense against several other running quarterbacks, which gives the Cowboys confidence against Knight in a game with conference championship stakes.
“(Knight) can run a little bit faster than most of them, but it doesn't really change (the game plan),” Barnett said.
Defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer said he expects to see more pistol formation and more veer and dive option plays with Knight (51 carries, 391 yards, two touchdowns), rather than the power zone-read plays that Bell (75 carries, 255 yards, zero touchdowns) tends to run. The Cowboys will also prepare for the chance that Bell, who is expected to be cleared to play following a concussion sustained against Iowa State on Nov. 16, could sporadically enter the game Saturday.
So how exactly do the Cowboys plan to stop that option element in the Sooners' offense? Spencer, of course, wouldn't offer specifics.
But whenever the quarterback becomes the runner, the defense feels outnumbered. In reality, it causes a play to truly become 11-on-11 football, with a lead blocker often serving as the crucial piece that can spring a big gain.