NORMAN — Through three quarters Saturday, Trevor Knight had been Oklahoma’s only quarterback this season. Through the good and bad of almost two full games, the coaches had stuck with the redshirt freshman.
But 10 seconds into the fourth quarter against West Virginia, with OU only leading 13-7 at home, Knight was pulled. In his place, junior Blake Bell was inserted into the lineup and he finished out the contest.
Normally this kind of shakeup can cause problems on a team that is still trying to find its own identify. But according to the Sooners, the switch at quarterback had no negative repercussions on the team.
“It had no affect at all,” Damien Williams said. “Both of those guys go with the ones at practice. Everybody is used to each guy and how they throw and how they signal things. It was just a normal little thing.”
When Knight was pulled, he had 119 yards passing to go along with the team’s only touchdown. However, he also had two turnovers, both in the red zone.
Despite his benching, Knight’s teammates still have faith in him to do the job.
“I think we need to be more balanced, definitely,” tailback Brennan Clay said. “Our passing game is a little shaky. But we have a young quarterback and he has a little bit of jitters. But he’s going to settle down. I have faith in him.”
Even after Bell entered the game, he wasn’t asked to resurrect the passing game. He attempted only one pass, which fell incomplete.
“I didn’t even know it was going to go down,” Clay said of the substitution. “I saw Blake in front of me and said, ‘There he is.’ I think both of them can play. I think it will be good for us to have both quarterbacks on the field. Trevor got a little banged up, I think. Blake came in and did a great job running the ball. With either quarterback we have, we are in good hands.”
In his time at Oklahoma, senior Gabe Ikard has seen a lot. So a fourth quarter change at quarterback wasn’t something for him to be worried about.
“We are all aware of the quarterback battle before the year and we knew it would go into the season,” Ikard said. “We were struggling a little bit. The coaches have been evaluating; they just wanted to evaluate the two guys and let Blake get out there and play a little bit. Things went well out there. Trevor did some great things and got a little banged up. We just have to get him healthy and those two guys will continue to battle each other in practice.”
Regardless of who is in the starting lineup next week against Tulsa, Ikard said the Sooners will come out ready to play for whomever is under center.
“That decision is up to the coaches,” Ikard said. “But the rest of the offense is behind whatever guy they put there.”
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