ARLINGTON, Texas — Within the closed confines of Oklahoma's football practices, one lethal true-freshmen tandem continually frustrates the first-team defense.
Quarterback Trevor Knight and receiver Derrick Woods, two of the program's Scout Team Player of the Year honorees, believe they're just getting started.
“He knows when I'm gonna break; he knows how I run my routes, and I know how he's gonna throw the ball,” Woods said. “That's good to have early on.”
Oklahoma loses at least one of its best receivers — senior Justin Brown — after the Jan. 4 Cotton Bowl Classic, and junior Kenny Stills might forgo his senior season and enter April's NFL Draft.
Knight's path to the game field might be a little tougher; Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops named fan-favorite Blake Bell his second-team quarterback during fall camp, and the sophomore — famous for his short-yardage running success — has since been considered Landry Jones' heir apparent.
Knight's scout-team prowess, though, has earned him respect from coaches and teammates alike; the 6-feet-1, 197-pound freshman from San Antonio acted as all of Oklahoma's opposing quarterbacks this season.
Knight played the roles of Collin Klein, Seth Doege, Geno Smith and — currently — Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, among others.
“He throws those balls, cross-body, stuff you don't expect him to make,” said senior defensive tackle Jamarkus McFarland. “He's kept us on our toes.”
His success and dedication leaves open the possibility for him — not Bell — to take the reins of Oklahoma's offense next fall.
“Trevor did a great job this year, and I think we're going to have a lot of competition next year at quarterback,” said co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell.
McFarland added, “He's doing things you wouldn't expect from a scout-team guy. Him and Derrick Woods have been a force on offense over there, so look out for him as well.”
Woods (6-1, 185 pounds) admits being frustrated upon learning he'd redshirt this season. His fellow true freshman receivers — Sterling Shepard, Durron Neal and Trey Metoyer — each had immediate opportunities at playing time.
“When the decision was first made, I was down,” Woods said.
“I don't have older brothers, so when I came into this setting, it was like a whole bunch of older brothers. It was from linemen, to linebackers, to cornerbacks telling me, ‘Hey, scout team's not bad. Take advantage of it.'”
As Woods worked through practices and the early portion of OU's schedule, he took notice of the difference his effort really made.
“That became my motivation, to help them out, make sure they're better and make sure they have everything down so when that game comes, they can execute on defense,” Woods said.
When Oklahoma meets Texas A&M on Jan. 4 in Cowboys Stadium, fans' only glimpse of scout-team heroes like Knight and Woods will come during pregame warm-ups.
But if things go according to their plan, Knight-to-Woods connections in actual games might not be too far in the future.
“Me and Trevor have a great relationship as a quarterback and a receiver,” Woods said.
“Hopefully we'll get to see more of that.”