NORMAN — Trevor Knight was throwing balls over receivers’ heads, throwing balls into the Owen Field turf, throwing balls everywhere except into receivers’ hands.
The Sooner faithful grumbled, and the Twitterverse shuttered.
“Time for Bell,” one Oklahoma fan wrote. “Trevor Football not working.”
But not once did Blake Bell even reach for his helmet.
Nor should he have.
Even though Knight struggled early in a 34-0 victory against Louisiana-Monroe, it is obvious that this is his offense. The Sooner coaches aren’t going to have a short leash with him.
Nor should they.
Knight has earned this chance to show what he can do, and even though the Trevor Knight Era didn’t get off to the most rousing of starts, he showed the kind of promise that could pay big dividends down the road.
“I thought he handled himself well,” Sooner offensive coordinator Josh Heupel said. “He carried himself with great body language, great energy. Not that everything was going right all the time, but he was confident.”
It would’ve been easy for Knight to hang his head after the way things started. Heupel called a couple of wheelhouse plays for Knight, dialing up throws that the quarterback feels comfortable making. But instead of hitting Jalen Saunders near the sideline on the first pass attempt of his career, Knight overthrew him by a good five yards.
Instead of a first down, Knight found himself facing a third-and-long.
He ended up making amends for it, scrambling 24 yards for the first down and giving Sooner fans a glimpse of the wheels that he has, but his passing was off the entire first half. Knight started 3 of 10 and finished the first half 7 of 21 for 42 yards.
“We got him into a couple situations that I didn’t want to get him into early,” said Heupel, who had hoped to give his young quarterback some early confidence.
But the thing is, “He continued to play,” Heupel said.
No hanging his head. No slumping his shoulders. Even as he struggled, Knight continued to show the leadership that helped earn him the starting job. He took control of the huddle. He spoke up on the sidelines. He encouraged the guys around him.