Trevor Knight's Confidence Will Impact 2014 Sooners
The difference between the beginning and the end of the 2013 season for Trevor Knight was vast. He went from sharing the starting honors with then-quarterback Blake Bell to receiving MVP of the Sugar Bowl in a stunning win against Alabama.
But you know all of this. What you don’t know is how Knight will perform next season and what his impact will be for the 2014 Sooners.
Granted, I can't sit here and say I have the answers to those questions, but I have a pretty good idea as to how it will pan out.
Let’s start with the basics. Bell is now a tight end for the Sooners. Barring an injury, Knight will be the starter entering next season. Last season Knight started five games, averaging 102.4 yards per game in the air with 819 yards passing on the season. He threw nine touchdowns and five interceptions. Knight also rushed for 445 yards and scored two touchdowns on the season.
These numbers don’t do Knight’s Sugar Bowl performance justice. Against Alabama, Knight threw four of those nine touchdowns, accumulated 348 passing yards, gave up one interception and had a completion percentage of 72.7.
One game does not make a career, but it’s not like this game was against a no-name team that used to allowing big numbers. Before this game, Alabama had only been allowing 13.2 points a game, which ranked fourth in the FBS. This shows Knight has promise, but the question is whether he can be this productive at quarterback for an entire season. Can hen be the quarterback OU needs to win a Big 12 championship and compete for a spot in the inaugural College Football Playoff?
The answer is an outright yes. He will take the momentum from the Sugar Bowl, harbor it and use it next season. When necessary, he can rally the team because great players can do that. Not everyone, including Knight, knew he was a great player until the Alabama game, but now that Knight knows it himself, he can finally let loose.
Knight has the confidence he didn’t have last season. Not only in himself, but also from his coaches and his team, and that goes a long way. The Sooners called his name to start the Sugar Bowl after Bell had a great final drive to lead OU to a win against rival Oklahoma State, but coach Bob Stoops still put in Knight.
Going into the season with the coaches behind him and the starting job in his pocket, Knight will be able to relax, focus less on winning the starting job and more on mechanics to ensure he maximizes his performance. A huge amount of pressure is off. Football can be as much a mental game as it is physical, and Knight knows he can win in the big games. He also knows even after a mistake his coaches will throw him back out there to get it right the next time.
Not only can Knight pass, but when he needs to scramble, he can rip off a good run. He averaged 6.6 yards per attempt last year with two big touchdowns. Oklahoma usually has a good running back core, which again should be the case this upcoming season, but when a play falls apart Knight can make something happen with his feet and get the team out of a jam.
As I have said before, Oklahoma has a tough game this season against another strong Baylor team, along with some other difficult conference games, but if Knight stays confident and healthy throughout all 12 regular-season games, he could put up some big numbers and lead OU to a berth in the first go-around of the CFP.