As improbable as it may seem, Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight isn't perfect. And don't let Alabama's defense try to convince you otherwise, either.
Yes, Knight was impressive in the Sooners' 45-31 Sugar Bowl victory over the Tide. The redshirt freshman was a master dime-dropper that night, tossing for 348 yards to nine different receivers.
It was a pleasant surprise for a player who struggled with consistency and health problems all season. Now, Knight enters the 2014 offseason with a ton of hype. Expectations are higher, so this is the time for Knight to step up his game.
|Trevor Knight's 2013 Passing Stats|
The ceiling is certainly high for Knight, who could turn into the most dangerous quarterback in the Big 12. So what does Knight have to work on this spring?
Keep Evolving as a Passer
Every quarterback can improve his footwork and accuracy, but for Knight, this is especially important to show the Sugar Bowl wasn't a fluke.
It's true that Knight grew tremendously as a passer in his first as a starter. From Week 1 against Louisiana-Monroe to the win over Alabama, the transformation was remarkable.
Against the Warhawks, Knight completed just 39 percent of his passes. Against the Tide in New Orleans, Knight nearly doubled that completion percentage to go along with four touchdown passes.
Even when Knight returned from a knee injury in a November win over Iowa State, he looked like a different player. He was more confident throwing the football and showed off impressive arm strength.
That's a credit to Sooners quarterback coach and co-offensive coordinator Josh Heupel. That development needs to continue this offseason. And it's not just accuracy, either; Knight has to make better decisions and focus on ball security.
The good news is that Knight has proved capable of improving his game. It's obvious Knight is a gifted runner. If he's a more consistent, accurate passer next season, though? He'll be the best dual-threat quarterback in the conference by a country mile.
Learn How to Stay Healthy
Staying healthy, not development, should be Knight's biggest hurdle.
Knight essentially injured himself out of a job for about two months when he sustained his knee injury in Week 2 against West Virginia. That was evident when he didn't play in a Red River loss to Texas on Oct. 12, even though the Longhorns' defense struggled with mobile quarterbacks.
He then left early in the Bedlam game against Oklahoma State with an unidentified injury.
When you're a quarterback on the run, you're going to take some hits. At 6'1" and 201 pounds, Knight isn't the biggest guy on the field, either.
With quarterback Blake Bell moving to tight end, there's not as much of a safety net for the Sooners. Knight has to do a better job of sliding and getting out of bounds.
Become the Leader of the Offense
Knight was surrounded by veteran playmakers last season. From center Gabe Ikard to receiver Jalen Saunders and running back Brennan Clay, there was a lot of leadership on offense.
The Sooners' offensive skill players will be young in 2014. Though Knight only has eight games of experience to his name, he'll be viewed as a veteran.
The offseason is always a prime opportunity to build chemistry with teammates. For Knight, that includes working with young receivers on perfecting the timing for passing routes.
Last year, Knight was competing for a starting job. This time around, he's the presumed front-runner to win the job again. That comes with a different set of expectations of how to handle your business.
Ben Kercheval is the lead writer for Big 12 football. All stats courtesy of cfbstats.com.
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