Texas coach Mack Brown praises OU quarterback Landry Jones

BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Modified: October 3, 2011 at 1:09 pm •  Published: October 3, 2011

Texas coach Mack Brown said his football team has the same concerns playing Oklahoma that every team does, and OU junior quarterback Landry Jones tops the list.

"He is a great advantage for them going into this game," Brown said of Jones during Monday morning's weekly Big 12 coaches teleconference. "He has been into the game, he's won the game and he's completing 72 percent of his passes. (He's) very efficient running their up-tempo offense.

"I think he's a tremendous player. In my estimation, he should be the leader for the Heisman."

Ranked No. 10 in this week's coaches' poll and No. 11 in The Associated Press poll, the Longhorns face the No. 1/No. 3 Sooners at 11 a.m. at the Cotton Bowl in a Red River showdown between two 4-0 teams.

OU ranks No. 4 nationally in total offense per game (555.0), No. 5 in passing offense (377.8 yards) and No. 11 in scoring (42.5 points), while Texas ranks No. 25 in rushing offense (206.0), No. 37 in scoring (34.3), No. 46 in total offense (420.8 yards) and No. 76 in passing offense (214.8).

This will be Jones' third OU-Texas game, but it will be the first appearance for Longhorns starting quarterback Case McCoy, a redshirt freshman who will alternate in certain situations with true freshman David Ash.

Jones entered the OU-Texas game in the first quarter as a freshman two years ago after 2008 Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford re-injured his right (throwing) shoulder and was lost for the season. The Longhorns won 16-13.

OU won last year's game 28-20 as Jones completed 24 of 39 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns. He also survived a late-game scare.

The Sooners led 28-10 early in the fourth quarter before Texas surged back. With the score 28-20, Jones was sacked and fumbled with roughly 1:20 remaining. The ball barely crawled out of bounds, allowing OU to retain possession at its own 6-yard line. Two plays later, the Sooners recovered a fumbled punt return by Texas with 1:02 left to seal the game.

"It's really, really hard to get him (Jones) off his rhythm because they limit your blitzes and we're a blitzing team," Brown said. "They limit your blitzes by the speed that they call their plays and their up-tempo. Last year they got out on us very quickly (14-0 in the first quarter) and caught us off-balance. A couple of times we were looking at our wristbands to get in the right defense when they were calling the play and ran a sweep for a touchdown and caught us off-guard numerous times. So that's a huge thing for us to get fixed before Saturday."

Seventeen players listed on the Longhorns' two-deep are either freshmen or redshirt freshmen.

Brown said preparing his newcomers for the OU-Texas atmosphere at the Cotton Bowl is different than preparing for a true road game such as UCLA at the Rose Bowl, where the Longhorns won 49-20 on Sept. 17.

"This one's very different because just about every one of these kids – in fact I think probably all of these kids the last two years before they got here – went to this game," Brown said. "So every person from the state of Texas or Oklahoma that's a prospect gets invited to this game and they come. Most of these kids have been in this environment to watch, so they're not shocked when they walk in it. I think the out-of-state kids are more shocked.

"One time (tight end) Bo Scaife (from Denver Mullen High School) was standing out there as a freshman and said, 'Coach, this is so cool. This is so cool, I think I'm going to hyperventilate.' I said, 'Great, that makes me feel super.'

"I think these players a lot of them came to these two universities to play in this game. So it's an exciting thing instead of an intimidating thing for them. It's a dream to play in this game for kids, and it's a dream to coach in this game. I've been fortunate to be on both sides of it. Coach (Darrell) Royal has (been) on both sides. (Wide receivers coach) Darrell Wyatt has coached on both sides. All of our staff that is new, and about half our staff is new, just can't wait till Saturday because this is one of the reasons they come to Texas to coach as well."

Here are responses from OU coach Bob Stoops during the teleconference:

You've won the last two weeks, but have dropped two spots in The Associated Press poll. If you beat Texas, do you think you'll drop out of the top 10?

"A lot of that is people respecting what other teams have done in difficult situations. That kind of thing happens. When we beat Florida State (23-13) a few weeks ago, everybody was impressed with that. I think a lot of it is just gauged on who you've played. I would imagine this game will mean a lot. It's way too early in the season to get anybody to start lobbying on it. I'm not much on that."

What are the biggest adjustments you have to make facing new Texas offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin, who formerly was at Boise State?



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