Questions About Knight Should Revolve Around Health, Not Performance

Thursday, August 28th 2014, 4:57 pm
By: News 9

We all know Trevor Knight turned in the performance of a lifetime against Alabama in January's Sugar Bowl. What we don't know is how he is going to perform this year, and everyone seems to have an opinion about it.

The biggest reason for the uncertainty around Knight this year is the way he started the 2013 season. Two less than stellar starts against Louisiana-Monroe and West Virginia, plus an injury led to Knight riding the pine behind Blake Bell, until Bell suffered an injury against Iowa State late in the year.

The popular thought is there is no way Knight will be as good as he was against the Crimson Tide for a whole season. That's probably true. If he was, it'd rival Sam Bradford's 2008 season and might be even better.

But the talk of Knight possibly reverting back to the player that started the 2013 season, or at least close to it, is just foolishness. The logic doesn't make any sense.

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If Knight had performed like he did against Alabama against Baylor on Nov. 7 instead, and then was good, not great, the rest of the year, the talk would be centered on how Knight had improved over the course of the season and how he was poised for a breakout year in 2014.

Why isn't it like this now with how things actually transpired?

Everyone is so quick to forget Knight was also really good against Kansas State and pretty good against Iowa State after Bell went out with a head injury. His performance against Oklahoma State wasn't anything to write home about, but that game—like the KSU game—was played on a literal frozen tundra.

The questions about Knight are misguided. He has proven on three separate occasions when he is on his game, he is a fantastic quarterback. The biggest question that should be asked is whether or not he remains healthy.

Knight suffered a knee injury against West Virginia, which conveniently allowed OU coach Bob Stoops to say he pulled Knight from the game because he was hurt rather than saying it was performance-based. Knight suffered a shoulder injury against OSU as well, forcing the Sooners to piece together just enough offense with Bell and Kendal Thompson to somehow come out of Stillwater with a win.

As the quarterback of the present and the future in Norman, Knight has to be smart about protecting himself and his body. The Sooners' questionable situation at backup quarterback only heightens the urgency. Josh Heupel has mentioned they've talked about it; Stoops has mentioned it; Knight himself has mentioned it. The message has been delivered.

Knight said on Monday he turned a corner when he realized he needed to be a distributor rather than the playmaker for the Sooners. That mindset will protect him more than anything.

Yes, there is uncertainty about how Knight will perform, but Knight's showing against Alabama left room for a drop-off that still results in a great performance. Knight was out of this world against the Crimson Tide. Performing less than that is not a bad thing. In fact, Heupel and Stoops would probably take that every single time.

But Knight has to stay healthy to do that. If he does, there's no reason to expect him to revert to the player that started the first two games of 2013 for the Sooners. The logic just doesn't make sense.