NORMAN — The changes Oklahoma made to its offense Saturday were subtle. There were no plays it hadn’t run before. Most of it just seemed new in the 41-31 victory over Kansas State.
It’s different because everything was tailored to fit redshirt freshman quarterback Trevor Knight and he wore it well.
“I think he was really decisive with the football. When it wasn’t there, for the most part, he went through his progression and then found a way to make a play,” OU offensive coordinator Josh Heupel said.
The Sooners (9-2, 6-2 Big 12) have gone most of the season without that element. Plays had to be executed perfectly to succeed. Miss a block, be slightly off in a route, don’t fit a whole perfectly and the play became a waste.
Knight, who threw for a career-high 171 yards and a touchdown and ran for 82 more and another touchdown, played poise throughout the game and never seemed uncomfortable at any point.
But OU’s coaching staff did a better job of putting him in a situation where he could drive. The swing passes, which have been a staple since Sam Bradford’s day, were not part of the game plan. Knight struggled to accurately make those throws back in September. He wasn’t asked to make them Saturday. Most of his throws were crossing routes that could be thrown without having to worry about touch.
When his initial reads were covered, he was advised to tuck in and run.
He converted a couple third-downs and a key fourth-down play in that manner.
“Eventually I want to be a guy that can make my reads on those third-down passes,” said Knight, who did make some quality third-down throws. “But I think it’s good that I have the ability to make those plays on third and fourth down. It just adds another dimension.”