Oklahoma's season is already a goner. The expectations the Sooners entered the season with have all gone up in flames as OU has stumbled to a 6-3 record three quarters of the way through the season.
The future is the only source of optimism for the Sooners at this point, and Oklahoma may be getting a look at the future of the quarterback position on Saturday.
With Trevor Knight's status uncertain for the Texas Tech game, redshirt freshman Cody Thomas could be making his first career start against the Red Raiders.
Late in the fourth quarter of Saturday's loss to Baylor, Trevor Knight suffered an injury when he was hit by defensive end Shawn Oakman. The hit forced Knight to be carted off, but all X-rays and MRIs so far have come back clean. Knight didn't practice on Monday but the rest of the week is up in the air.
“It's just being able to manage—he's pretty sore right now—and being able to manage that,” OU coach Bob Stoops said. “So, we'll just see how he continues to recover, and I'll report on it once it's definitive what he's doing to do.”
Thomas has already seen action in four games this season, but three of those, including Saturday's showing, have been in mop-up roles. He's 7-of-16 for 50 yards with an interception, as well as four carries for 25 yards. His first big impression came against Kansas State when he filled in for an injured Knight in the first quarter and led a touchdown drive.
He's made a good impression on his teammates, who have been impressed with the way he has handled himself in games this season.
“The dude has looked really good with his chances out there,” offensive tackle Tyrus Thompson said. “I have full confidence in him. I think he's a great quarterback. Next year will be a little tricky but I won't be here. Cody is a great quarterback. He has a really calm demeanor and a lot of confidence.”
Many times, when a backup quarterback takes command of the offense there's a drop off because of the different idiosyncrasies between quarterbacks. Fullback Aaron Ripkowski says that doesn't really happen with Thomas.
“You know, it's the way he just hops in there and picks up right where Trevor left off,” Ripkowski said. “That's really nice to see instead of him being shaky and getting in there and trying to feel his way through. He really just hops in there and gets it done.”
Thomas hasn't been all rainbows and sunshine in his four appearances. Against Iowa State in mop-up duty, Thomas went just 1-of-8 for 11 yards with an interception. While that extended performance doesn't inspire a lot of confidence should he start on Saturday, Thompson said it's nothing to worry about.
“Everyone is going to have their game sometime,” Thompson said. “I guess a few throws were off but a few routes were off at the same time. I'm on the offensive line so I just worry about my job and my protections. Cody is a really good quarterback. You guys just wait on him. He's going to be great.”
Stoops said Blake Bell would be the backup quarterback if Thomas is named the starter for Saturday's game. Bell took snaps in practice when Thomas was out earlier in the season with an injury.
Offensive coordinator Josh Heupel normally stays in the press box during games, but Stoops said it would be up to Heupel to be on the sidelines with Thomas if he starts.
“That's something I'm sure Josh will consider,” Stoops said. “You know, he's got a good feel for that and what those guys need and what he needs to do so I'm sure he'll analyze that situation.”
The present is pretty bleak for the Sooners—at least by Oklahoma standards—but Saturday may offer a glimpse into the future. Hopefully that look is brighter than the present.