Spring football is done at Oklahoma. The Sooners were able to get everything they could from 14 practices and the spring game and now the focus goes toward the 2015 season.
So what did we learn? Sooners Illustrated is going to take a position-by-position approach to see what we know now (or what we don’t know) going forward at OU.
Let’s look at Knight.
Nobody would have imagined Knight to be in this position last year. There was some talk of Knight winning the Heisman in 2014, now it’s a going to be one heck of a struggle for him to remain OU’s starting quarterback for this season.
Knight was marred by inaccuracy and way too many game-changing turnovers as OU sputtered to an 8-5 record. Things changed even more, obviously, when Lincoln Riley was hired as OU’s offensive coordinator.
The offense Knight had been running for OU now seems obsolete as the Air Raid (or Riley’s version of it) seems to be the talk of the town in Norman.
“Every quarterback has to realize that you can’t get too high and can’t get too low,” Knight said. “You have to stay even keel and you have to set that tone for the rest of the team. Everyone is going to be hoopin’ and hollerin’ before a game. You can be part of that in a sense, but it’s about maintaining that even keel mindset.”
Two years ago around this time it was Knight was the budding quarterback looking to make his name. It looked like Blake Bell would get the nod for the 2013 starting job, but Knight wound up winning the spot.
This time around it feels like Knight would be the guy, but Baker Mayfield has planted his flag and has made his case for why he should be the No. 1 quarterback for the Sooners.
The two had a chance to show why at the spring game two weeks ago. The verdict was, well, more time needed to determine. Mayfield threw two interceptions, while Knight was still under 50 percent completion percentage although he had a one-yard touchdown run.
The competition wages on, and everybody appears to be on the same page with that.
“It’ll help the team because it will help us identify the best guy,” Riley said. “There’s no substitute for having the best guy. I think this team is ready to play for a number of these guys. I don’t think the team really cares which way it goes.
“They just want the best out there to help us score point and help us win games. It’s going to help us keep them hungry and give us more of a chance to evaluate them.”
Knight has made strides to learn the new offense, but it’s unclear about whether or not the progress he has made will be enough to win the job.
He still has the support of his teammates and still certainly among the most recognizable faces in the program as evidenced by Knight being one of those in the forefront following the SAE incident.
OU coach Bob Stoops said this competition is going to continue going into the summer. Since Knight has been through this before, he knows what to expect and has a positive outlook on things.
“It’s the same attitude,” Knight said. “It’s the same attitude since I was 7 years old. My dad has always been the one to say you’re going to have to compete in whatever you do in life. That was a big lesson for me. Here I am going into my junior year and I’m still competing.
“That’s what you want. You want to be able to go out and compete every day. That’s why you come to a place like Oklahoma. It’s a privilege to be able to wear those colors and compete every day.”