NORMAN — The accident happened in early July, but not many people knew what happened besides Dakota Boxwell and those within the Noble football program.
The news first came out after a preseason interview with coach Steve Barrett, and fans then learned of the injury that was supposed to keep the quarterback out of Noble’s first several games.
A few days later, the tale of the “Noble Noodler” caught national attention, and everyone knew. Boxwell, who injured a ligament in his throwing hand during a summer noodling accident, said he received hundreds of messages about the injury. The story was picked up by national publications, and it seemed to the senior that there wasn’t anyone he met who didn’t know his story.
But there is one thing they don’t know — that the injury was a blessing in disguise for Noble.
If not for Boxwell’s injury, the Bears would never have turned to Cory Jennings, the dynamic back who worked every day after summer pride practices to learn the position. And if the Bears would never have turned to Jennings, they wouldn’t have discovered the two-quarterback system that has Noble off to its first 2-0 start since 2003.
“They both work incredibly hard, and having them both allows us to do a lot more,” Barrett said. “We would never have even thought about this if not for the injury.”
However it happened, it works. Jennings is a lively runner in space and adept at making defenders miss. Boxwell fills the role of the pocket passer and power runner.
Notably, both can throw the ball
effectively, which means defenses can’t key in on any one thing no matter who is under center. The two split the snaps fairly evenly, depending on the down and distance and the opposing team’s personnel.