BEVO BEAT

Triplets of the Big 12: Oklahoma

Posted August 14th, 2014

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Today’s Big 12 triplets: Oklahoma.

(1) Trevor Knight, QB: 79 of 134, for 819 yards, 9 TDs and 5 INTs in 2013. Completed 59 percent of his passes.

(2) Keith Ford, RB: … or will it end up being Joe Mixon? Ford in 2013 — 23 carries, 134 yards, 1 TD.

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(3) Sterling Shepard, WR: … or will it end up being DGB? Shepard in 2013 — 51 catches, 603 yards, 7 TDs.

About the Sooners’ triplets:

Oklahoma is riding a Sugar high into the preseason, thanks to Knight’s improbable performance against Alabama to end 2013.

Knight, now a sophomore, suffered through an inconsistent debut season thanks to inexperience and injuries. He sprained a knee early in the season, then once he returned to the lineup in November, hurt his wrist.

Blake Bell started from September through mid-November. Then Knight reappeared, directing Oklahoma to victories over Kansas State and Alabama.

Bell is now a tight end and Knight is the definitive first-string quarterback. He’ll be protected by the most experienced offensive line in the league. But coach Bob Stoops is asking Knight to better protect his body. The Sooners can’t absorb an injury at the position.

“Some injuries you just can’t avoid that are just going to happen,” Stoops said.  “But at the quarterback position, regardless of how much or little we run him, when he has the opportunity and he is out on the perimeter running, we want him to avoid and take as little contact as possible to step out of bounds, slide, get down if you already got 13, that’s good enough.  Someone’s closing in on you, slide, get down, avoid the big hits.

“So it’s something that we’ll talk a lot about with him and even tried to a year ago.  But I think another year more experience he’ll be more familiar and used to doing that.”

But who will Knight have surrounding him in the skill areas?

The big question is whether Dorial Green Beckham, who out of high school was one of the top prospects in the country, will be eligible to play this year. Green Beckham was a two-year starter at Missouri, but after his third off-field legal issue, Tigers coach Gary Pinkel kicked him off the team. He landed at Oklahoma.

The Sooners intend to ask the NCAA to allow Green Beckham immediate eligibility. His current status is he won’t be able to play until 2015.

The Sooners most experienced receiver is Shepard, a three-year starter who has caught 96 career passes for 1,224 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Running back also is an area of concern. It looked set until incoming freshman Joe Mixon was suspended because of his alleged involvement in an assault. Mixon was a five-star prospect who was thought to be OU’s best tailback signee since Adrian Peterson a decade ago.

Three of the team’s top four rushers are gone. That leaves Ford, who played in 10 carries and rushed for 134 yards last fall, as the most experienced running back.

Tomorrow’s triplets: TCU

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