NORMAN, Okla. – You have to think Trevor Knight was kind of worried.
More than 84,000 Oklahoma fans certainly were.
A first quarter of a first game with a new quarterback didn’t do anything to calm any nerves as Knight threw the ball around and through receivers. A blacksmith would have shown better touch. Nothing seemed right. He showed no feel and the stats proved it as he went 3-of-10 passing in the first 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, a few hours earlier and a few hundred miles south, Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy showed so little patience he pulled his starting quarterback after just two series against Mississippi State.
Certainly not every Oklahoma fan was aware of what was going on in Houston with the Cowboys, and Knight wasn’t about to speak on the OSU situation, but he’s not made out of wood. Neither are most of us. We knew what happened.
And we knew it wouldn’t have have been out of bounds for the Sooners and Bob Stoops do the same sort of thing. No reason to think it couldn’t happen.
Because there was every opportunity.
The first quarter ended and the teams went to a timeout with OU facing a third-and-one, the kind of situation where Blake Bell has excelled over the past two seasons. The kind of situation where a quarterback change could have been seamless and harmless and most-likely successful.
Instead Bell never put a helmet on.
“There was no discussion about that,” Stoops said.
None? Not a peep? A thought? OK. Well, that must mean there’s no doubt about this: Knight wasn’t great, but he was good and good enough to have firmly entrenched himself as the Sooner starter after a 34-0 win against ULM.
There will be no two-quarterback situation this season. It’s Trevor Knight’s job.
“Not at all,” Knight said about whether he was worried about being benched. “Coaches have 100 percent trust in me.”
It showed as the teams went back out for the second quarter in a scoreless tie. Knight, not Bell, got the 5 yards on third down and the Sooners went on to score – capped off by a 12-yard pass from Knight to Jalen Saunders.
“It’s a whirlwind,” Knight said, “but it’s a dream come true and you run with it. You know you’re going to have to compete anywhere. It turned out it happened to be the right year here and I got my shot.”
Now it seems like he’s really taking advantage of it, so there’s really no need to bog yourself down in the fact the 124 yards passing were the fewest by the Sooners since 2006 and the team’s leading receiver was Saunders with three catches for 30 yards.
Just think of it this way – Knight showed he can provide OU with a little bit of a lot. He was just 11-of-28 passing for 86 yards, but he had three touchdowns. He ran for the most yards by a freshman quarterback since 1989, going for a game-high 103.
Not Heisman numbers and not Johnny Manziel type of talent – not in a game one, anyway – but give Knight a bit of credit in his first game and first time getting hit since he played high school ball in San Antonio two seasons ago.
“It felt good to get out there and get hit around a little,” he said. “I did enough to get us the win. I know we can go up from here and that’s exciting for our team.”
Stoops said it was a positive start and he can exhale for now about his defense which was exposed last season, but it’s the quarterback position most of us folks were interested in dissecting.
“I’m sure he’ll settle down and get smoother with his throws,” Stoops said. “We expect him to continue to improve.”
Everyone else will, too, but for now, smooth, rough, whatever. It’s a 1-0 start for the Sooners.
“The first start is out of the way and now we can move on,” Knight said. “The first game of the year, you start to try and make your routine. It becomes easier. You can get in the flow of the day.”
He’s got nothing to worry about now. Sooner fans might not feel the same way, but they certainly have to feel a bit better.