In the end, head coach Bob Stoops chose the athletic Knight as the starter in what many considered to be a surprise move. After all, Bell had extensive experience as the Sooners’ goal-line quarterback the previous two seasons. Knight’s only claim to fame in Soonerland was his success emulating Johnny Manziel during the team’s preparation for the Cotton Bowl.
But the buzz around the OU program surrounding Knight was palpable after those practices and, a few short months after getting shellacked by the real Johnny Manziel, the thought was that the Sooners needed their own version of Johnny Football to inject some life into a program that seemed to be going sideways the last few years.
OU is now 2-0 on the season following a 16-7 grind-it-out win over West Virginia on Saturday. The defense appears to be very good, but the offense still hasn’t come around. Especially Knight.
That’s not how it was supposed to be.
While Knight has been very good as a runner, gaining 103 yards in his debut and 42 against the Mountaineers, he is struggling in the passing game. He is completing just 43.8% of his passes and has a passer rating of 94.63. He threw two interceptions against WVU and the Sooners struggled to put points on the board.
As a result, Stoops may be back to square one with his quarterbacks. Bell was inserted into the game against the Mountaineers and though he only threw one pass (an incompletion) and gained 21 yards on two carries, he did lead the Sooners on a game-clinching field goal drive.
Could Bell be given a chance to show what he can do?
“With the way we finished the game, that’s a factor now,” Stoops told the media on Sunday. “I’m not going to detail it now right here after the game. It will be something, as coaches, we need to talk through.”
The Sooners couldn’t get any worse in the passing game at this point. At any rate, the 6-foot-6, 260-pound Bell would bring a different dimension to the offense than the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Knight.
“It ought to be easier than it’s been,” Stoop said. “That play-action ought to be there more than it has been, and even some of just our drop-back execution needs to be improved and better. We’ll work hard on that, and believe we’ll make that improvement. I’ll be surprised if we don’t.”