NORMAN — On his first collegiate touchdown pass, Trevor Knight wasn't the first Sooner to celebrate with Jalen Saunders but he wasn't far behind.
Early in the second quarter of Saturday's 34-0 win over Louisiana-Monroe, the redshirt freshman connected with Saunders for a 12-yard touchdown pass.
Lacoltan Bester met with Saunders first, then Knight was the next person there, out-jumping Saunders as the two celebrated.
It was another indication about the difference between this year's team and the Sooners of recent memory.
Landry Jones celebrated touchdowns and other big plays, to be sure, but not with the same emotion as Knight.
Jones' typical celebration was a pair of fingers raised to the sky. Knight's appears to be jumping higher than his receivers.
Sooners coach Bob Stoops downplayed the differences.
“They're all different, of course. Landry is different than Sam (Bradford); Sam is different from Jason (White); Jason is different from Josh (Heupel),” Stoops said. “None of them are the same, but they're all good.”
Knight might not be doing any more jumps, though.
Georgia wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell tore his anterior cruciate ligament in a similar celebration in the Bulldogs' loss to Clemson on Saturday. Mitchell was jumping into running back Todd Gurley, who had just scored.
That led to Stoops having a conversation with his players earlier this week.
“I told my guys if you're gonna chest-bump, go up about that high,” Stoops said, motioning low. “Just barely get off the ground. I told them Monday when we broke the thing, just go up about that much.”
Stoops said he expected his players to be mindful of the injury potential moving forward.
“I've seen it over and over. It's crazy. I said, ‘Why would you make yourself susceptible to hurting something?'” Stoops said. “I don't like it. Man, just stay on the ground. You come down awkward and the grass or turf can grab. It doesn't take much, obviously.”
Sooners center Gabe Ikard wasn't in with Knight on the post-touchdown celebration.
“I was running down there; he just beat me,” Ikard said. “He gets fired up. He's one of those guys that's a very calm, low-key guy off the field, but some of those guys are the most fiery competitors on the field and that's the way he is.”
Running back Damien Williams said the older players had to keep that in check at times, mentioning injury as well.
“As a young guy, you've got to try to keep him calm,” Williams said. “You don't want him going in there and jumping in there with everybody all the time. Guys can get hurt doing that also. He's a young guy, and this is his first time going around with it. He can do it but as the year goes on, he'll get more settled in.”
Knight appeared to get more settled in as Saturday's game progressed.
Of his first 11 passes against ULM, nine were off the mark, though Bester was able to grab one for a completion on a ball thrown behind him.
The 12th was the on-the-money throw to Saunders for his first touchdown.
Knight wound up throwing two more touchdowns, the other two in his final four throws.
Of his 11 throws that were on target Saturday, four came in those final four throws.
“It was his first game and first collegiate game ever,” Saunders said. “I kind of expected him to be a little nervous. We talked after the game and I'm looking forward to the next game and later in the season for him to be a more composed and an older-type player. I've been saying that he's real mature for his age. I think Trevor is doing very well.”
When Knight was named the starter over Blake Bell, Ikard noticed a change.
“Once he knew it was his job, he kind of flipped a switch where he was a more vocal guy, took more of a leadership role right away,” Ikard said. “We understand that he's a redshirt freshman. We don't want him to have to get out of his comfort zone but he's one of those guys, he's always been a leader. At the quarterback position, that's what you want.”