Quarterback has typically never been a position of worry for the University of Oklahoma football team. From Sam Bradford to Landry Jones, who will lead the Sooners offense in a given season has always been pretty obvious. 2014 will be no different.
After his well-documented performance in the Sugar Bowl against the University of Alabama, the job is redshirt sophomore Trevor Knight’s to lose. However, it hasn’t been an easy ride to get to this point. Knight was dubbed the starter as a redshirt freshman at the beginning of the 2013 season. But from there it was a roller coaster. A knee injury knocked him out in week two. That opened the door for Blake Bell to step in and he took full advantage, starting the next eight contests. An injury then forced Bell out of the Iowa State game in the third to last week of the regular season and what do you know, Knight is back as the starter.
Since recapturing the starting role, Knight hasn’t looked back. Sugar Bowl MVP honors have lengthened the leash, so to speak. There is also less competition as Bell moved to tight end this offseason. Sooners head coach Bob Stoops will let Knight grow and mature in 2014. Instead of Stoops pulling him at the first sign of trouble, Knight should have the freedom to learn without looking over his shoulder.
Yet, waiting in the wings in case that process is stalled for whatever reason is sophomore quarterback Baker Mayfield. The signal-caller transferred to OU from Texas Tech after the fall semester. The former Red Raider must sit out a year before he is eligible to play and is also unable to redshirt. He won the starting job at Texas Tech last fall under head coach Kliff Kingsbury and became the first walk-on freshman to start an opener for a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) team.
It was evident that Mayfield hadn’t missed a beat when he took the field in the Oklahoma Spring Game on April 12. He shined bright and was easily the star of the game, completing all nine of his pass attempts for 125 yards and two touchdowns. He did all of this while leading the White team over the Red team, 28-13.
“I like the way Coach Heupel is pushing me harder than I have ever worked before,” said Mayfield. “I welcome challenges and adversity; it only makes me better.”
While Mayfield flourished with his new teammates, Knight seemed to take a step back from what was expected of him. With a great performance like his in the Sugar Bowl comes great expectations. In his first game-like action since, Knight was a measly 5-of-14 passing for 53 yards and an interception. No wonder Stoops isn’t happy about the NCAA transfer rules.
Even if Knight continues to progress as a player and Mayfield doesn’t see playing time in an OU uniform, he is a great teammate to have and a positive leader to hold others accountable.
“I hate losing and everybody around here does too, “ said Mayfield. “I hope I can improve and be able to support my teammates as we work for the same goal.”
As the Sooners head into 2014, Knight may be taking snaps in shining armor. But if it gets rusty by the end of the year, Mayfield will be there to shake it off and step in where he left off in the Spring Game.
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