Last time we saw Trevor Knight, let’s admit it, we were worried.
For about fifteen minutes of game time. After that, Sooner Magic happened again.
But even with the benefit of hindsight, even the most die-hard fan will have to tell you honestly that when Knight got the nod over Blake Bell, there was a steatewide gulp. That first interception early in the game, and the feeling of "Here we go" was settled.
He then proceeded to put on a show we’ve probably rewatched at least eight times. Looking like a combination of Cam Newton and Johnny Unitas, the kid played the game of his life. He led Oklahoma to a Jupiter-sized victory and paved the way for astronomical expectations for the 2014 season. All the stars in the firmament are coming up Oklahoma.
So what happens if he gets hurt?
Should we put the telescopes away? Sadly, my answer is "probably yes."
It’s a sore point for Oklahoma fans. In the Stoops era, then-mobile quarterback Jason White blew out his two anterior cruciate ligaments in consecutive seasons. Sam Bradfordd took a hard tackle in a sack that brought Landry Jones into our living rooms. (Remember "Fear The ‘Stache?")
In an ideal world, Baker Mayfield would strap on a helmet and trot out under center. You already know the saga with the former Texas Tech Big XII freshman of the year, but he was clearly the best quarterback on the field during the Spring game. I’ve never had a large gentleman hand me a parabola that I was then expected to throw while fellows like Eric Striker and Geneo Grissom were actively trying to turn me into road pizza, but Mayfield showed poise, confidence, and finesse. Sadly that’s probably not going to happen.
So that leaves Cody Thomas and Justice Hansen. Both heralded recruits, one is a redshirt freshman and one is a true freshman. And that, Soones fans is an ugly reality. Josh Heupel is not the kind of coordinator who will allow an offense that is run, run, run, punt, even if Trevor Knight is on the sideline with a bum knee or shoulder. Thomas or Hansen will have to grow up fast and complete passes with an inexperienced receiving corps.
And if either of them are asked to start?
It’s not necessarily hopeless. Against a Kansas State, Oklahoma State, or Texas, the team’s expectations will still ride on the ability of the defensive front seven to cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war. Tyler Lockett will get his catches, Johnathan Gray will have his touches, but these two young men have talent. Landry Jones took over for Bradford in that loss to BYU, but went on to achieve career quarterback marks. And when White went down? He was replaced by the guy who had beaten him out in the preseason, Nate Hybl.