It’s Week 13 of the college football season, and the cloud of a quarterback controversy is still hanging over Norman.
In Oklahoma’s win last week against Iowa State, the situation finally reached its breaking point.
After, Blake Bell left the game in the second quarter with an apparent head injury, the door was left open for Trevor Knight to surge back into the spotlight and stir up the quarterback debate once again.
Now, Bob Stoops is left with a decision that will have a huge impact on the quarterback position not only through this year, but heading into next season as well.
An official decision still hasn’t been made on who the starter will be Saturday when the Sooners travel to Manhattan, Kan., to take on Kansas State. And frankly, don’t expect one to be announced until the OU offense trots out on the field.
That’s the way that Stoops will elect to handle it.
But, the question still remains on which quarterback gives OU their best chance to win. In fact, it’s the most pressing question as this team moves forward.
Granted, Kendal Thompson did raise some eyebrows in his season debut last week against Iowa State, but it’s still apparent that the starting job will boil down to either Bell or Knight.
Both offer their own set of strengths, and both have certainly experienced their fair share of triumphs and tribulations this season.
But, the key to settling on a quarterback may lie solely on who’s the best fit for the Sooners’ new look on offense.
No, this isn’t the air-raid offense that Sooner fans have grown accustomed to seeing in the past five years. Instead, it’s an offense that routinely runs out of the pistol formation and attacks opposing defenses with zone-read schemes and designed quarterback runs. With that being said, it’s hard to deny that Knight’s skill set fits perfectly with what OU wants to do offensively.
Believe it or not, but that’s exactly why he was named the starter before the season; his athleticism, speed and arm strength are perfectly tailored to provide a big-play threat from the quarterback position.
Sure, Knight struggled in his first two starts, especially in the passing game, but some of that can certainly be credited to his youth and inexperience.
What can’t be denied, however, is the spark he brings to the offense when he’s in the game. That was especially apparent last week as he rushed for 123 yards that included an impressive 56-yard touchdown scamper early in the fourth quarter.
That kind of excitement has been absent from the OU offense with Bell at the helm, which is almost strange to say after the massive success he had in the "Belldozer" package in the last two seasons.
But, it’s clear that Bell just isn’t the explosive player that most thought he would be coming into the season. His lateral speed is lacking, and he has often struggled with accuracy and poise in the pocket.
In college football, it’s extremely difficult to win with inconsistent quarterback play. Some would even say that it’s a necessity to have a skilled quarterback when competing for a championship.
History has shown us that it’s true.
For the Sooners, now is the time to settle on a quarterback. Through 10 games, enough of a sample size has been given to make an educated analysis on whom OU should move forward with.
Putting everything into perspective, Knight seems like the ideal candidate to take over the job.
However, with that being said, Knight still has a lot of room for improvement. Granted, he’s only a freshman, but continuing to mature in the last three games of the season will be critical, as well as improving his accuracy in the offseason.
But, it’s hard not to notice the high ceiling that Knight possesses.
It’s very likely that Knight will be the starter on Saturday in Manhattan. If he plays well, it’s a safe bet that he’ll be the guy through the end of the season.
If he has a strong finish through the last three games, he’ll have the inside track to be the starter heading into next season.