The Landry Jones and Garrett Gilbert eras weren’t scheduled to begin until 2010.
Shoulder injuries to Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford and Texas’ Colt McCoy, however, put both freshmen on the spot a year sooner.
Jones for all but one game. Gilbert in the BCS National Championship.
There might never be another Red River quarterback showdown that matches the magnitude of Bradford and McCoy, who combined to make a series-high seven starts in the OU-Texas game.
But Jones and Gilbert showed in flashes they have the chance to form a pretty special quarterbacking rivalry of their own.
After taking over for Bradford in the opener, and then again in the Texas game, Jones was solid at times, and shaky at others. But he closed with his best performance of the season, throwing for 418 yards and three touchdowns to lead OU over Stanford in the Sun Bowl.
Gilbert replaced McCoy in the national title game and played like a freshman through the first half. But late in the third quarter, Gilbert caught fire and nearly brought Texas all the way back from an 18-point halftime deficit.
Over the next three years, Jones and Gilbert could start six combined OU-Texas games. That would make them the second-most experienced quarterback pairing behind Bradford-McCoy in the history of the rivalry.
A lot can happen in the coming years. They’ll have to avoid injury, and they’ll have to perform at a high level to keep their jobs from incoming high-profile freshmen Blake Bell (OU), Connor Wood (Texas) and Case McCoy (Texas), Colt’s brother.
But based on potential, Jones-Gilbert could have the makings of something special.
USC verbals at-large
Coach Pete Carroll’s departure from USC could have a positive impact on OU’s recruiting. Among USC’s oral commitments are the nation’s No. 1 wide receiver, Kyle Prater, and the No. 1 tight end, Xavier Grimble. Both players were strongly considering the Sooners before settling on USC.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted over the weekend that USC’s assistant coaches "never bothered calling back” Trojan commitments who were looking for answers about the coaching situation.
With Carroll now gone, Prater and Grimble reportedly are reopening their recruitment. That could open the door for OU to get back in the mix if the Sooners so choose.