By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Trevor Knight’s first four possessions as the University of Oklahoma’s starting quarterback against Louisiana-Monroe Saturday were pretty forgettable.
He was 3-of-10 passing for seven yards and rushed for 36 yards on three carries. OU had only one first down and had three straight three-and-outs.
Was he worried the coaches might be looking to backup Blake Bell, who had been the odds-on favorite to be the Sooners’ quarterback in 2013?
“Not at all,’’ Knight said. “The coaching staff has 100 percent trust in me. It was exciting to get out there. The last game where I got hit was in high school. That was a long time ago (2011). To finally get hit felt good.’’
Knight would lead the Sooners to scores in their next four possessions and six of the next seven.
His numbers weren’t overwhelming — 11 of 28 passing for 86 yards and three touchdowns and 103 yards rushing on 13 carries.
But the important stat was the score — OU 34, Louisiana-Monroe 0. He’s 1-0 as a starting quarterback.
“I try not to worry too much about the stats,’’ he said. “You take what they give you. We didn’t light it up like we have had in the past, but we did what we had to do to win. Any time you get a win, that’s all that matters.’’
Sam Bradford, the last freshman to start at quarterback in an opening game for OU, completed 21 of 23 passes for 363 yards and three touchdowns in a 73-10 rout of North Texas.
But Knight was the first OU quarterback to run for 100 yards since Jason White rushed for 117 yards against Kansas on Oct. 13, 2001. He was only the third quarterback in OU history to rush for more than 100 yards in his career debut.
His three touchdown passes matched Bradford’s debut.
The offense was reflective of the fact Knight is not Bradford or Landry Jones ... maybe more of a White before he tore two ACLs. He gives OU mobility at quarterback it hasn’t had under head coach Bob Stoops.
“I knew if the coaching staff gave me a shot, they would do it by what I best could provide for the team,’’ Knight said. “They have done a great job of that. I’m excited about it.’’
He admitted to struggling early, but became more comfortable as the game went on.
“I felt like I played well enough to get us the win,’’ Knight said. “I can improve on a lot of stuff in decision making. You just try to get in the mindset where you’re not thinking about anything else but playing. You try to get in the zone you want to be in.’’
He said he needs to get his timing down better on his passing. He was off on his short passes and flares.
“I just missed a few things here and there,’’ Knight said. “It’s nothing big. I feel we can correct those things. The good thing is we know we can only go up from here.
“When you’re not hitting on all cylinders, you wonder why. You get in there and watch it and see the things we need to correct and see what we can do about it.’’
He credited film study for one of the keys to winning the job.
“It was more clearing up some things,’’ Knight said, “and relaxing while I was playing. It’s simple as that. You try not to think too much while you’re playing football.’’
He called it a dream come true “to be able to come to a place where you can compete with the best of your ability and then run with it.’’
Knight originally committed to Texas A&M coming out of San Antonio Reagan High School. He redshirted last season while Jones directed OU to a 10-3 season and a co-Big 12 championship.
He felt he was ready to take command.
“A year behind Landry was great,’’ Knight said, “but I took every day like I wanted to be the starter. From the start, I have competed to the best of my ability. I have the same mindset every day. That’s what I’m going for.’’
That mindset is to stay “level- headed.’’
“You don’t want to get too high or too low,’’ Knight said. “You want to stay at an even keel and play your game. The coaches have put 100 percent trust in me.’’
He said he and Bell have a good relationship and are supportive of each other.
“We’re a team,’’ he said. “We help each other out. It’s a good deal.’’
Knight said the line “did a hell of a job,’’ and the backs “did a great job finding the holes.’’
The three touchdown passes — 12 yards and 18 yards to Jalen Saunders, and 13 yards to Trey Metoyer — were his most exciting plays
“Anytime you get in the end zone, it’s exciting,’’ he said. “It was good to get the first one under my belt. It was exciting hearing 85,000 fans screaming.’’
The last 10 days since he was named the starter have changed his life.
“It’s an exciting feeling to see all the hard work pay off,’’ he said. “You look forward to those things in life. It’s something you never forget.’’
Now, he has to sustain it.
“The guys are looking to me for leadership,’’ Knight said. “I try to be the first guy in. I try to set the tone … to have energy, passion ... and set a spiritual tone as well ... that you will always be there ... let the guys know you have their back in every situation.’’
OU hosts West Virginia at 6 p.m. Saturday.