The Norman Transcript

December 3, 2013

Weather could be a challenge for both teams at Bedlam

By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — The weather forecast for Saturday’s Bedlam game calls for temperatures below 20 degrees prior to kickoff and a wind chill below zero in Stillwater. You wouldn’t think a redshirt freshman from San Antonio would be able to adjust to the environment.

But Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight seemed to thrive in similar conditions on Nov. 23 at Kansas State. The performance — throwing for 171 yards and a touchdown and going for 82 more on the ground and another TD — even surprised him a little.

“I’ve never played in rain and never played in snow. I always had good weather,” he said.

Nonetheless, the offense was extremely productive in that game and will need to be so again Saturday. The winning team in the previous four Bedlam games has put up at least 29 points.

Offensively, OU doesn’t seem concerned with the weather because of what it was able to do against the Wildcats.

“I think that answered a lot of questions. We hadn’t played in the cold in quite some time, at least I hadn’t in my life,” Knight said. “Playing up there was a confidence booster.”

Ford factor: OU doesn’t have Damien Williams any more, but it will have a three-back rotation for the Oklahoma State game. Freshman running back Keith Ford has healed from an ankle sprain he suffered in early November.

“He’s running around healthy. He’s doing good,” co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell said. “He’s fresh and ready to go, and we should get some of those fresh legs back for this game. He’s been practicing well and hopefully we’ll have a fresh body out there Saturday.”

Ford has rushed for 119 yards on 20 carries this season.

Learning from watching: If either OU or OSU attempts a 50-plus-yard field goal Saturday, odds are there will be a returner in the back of the end zone and every one will know he has to be tackled if he catches the ball.

There’s no one associated with college football that hasn’t seen what happened at the end of Auburn’s victory over Alabama last Saturday.

“This is something to reference here,” OU coach Bob Stoops said. “It may happen once every five, six, eight years, but that’s something you have on your list now as you go through, that in this kind of situation, this is what we need to be ready to do.”

But it’s simply a matter of alerting players to the situation. Stoops said it’s not a scenario OU will work on this week.

“That’s something you do in two-a-days. That’s something you do when you have extra time, or in the spring. All right,” he said. “Again, this is a situation that might come every five, eight years, but let’s make sure we understand what we need to do.”

Options needed: Knight’s ability to throw the ball will be a major factor in Saturday’s game. OU is figuring the Cowboys will copy the game plan it used against Baylor Nov. 23 and sell out to stop the run.

“We’ve gotta be able to have answers for that, and throwing the football, and being successful throwing it, I think, is the key,” Norvell said. “Baylor never really hurt OSU in that game, and so they just kept pressing them up. They’ve got good corners, but you’ve got to be able to have some successful passes and you’ve got to do it early.”

John Shinn

Follow me @john_shinn

jshinn@normantranscript.com

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