Mike Sherman: OU's Landry Jones 'never better' than in his performance against West Virginia

The Oklahoman's Mike Sherman took questions from readers in today's Power Lunch Chat covering Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, the Oklahoma City Thunder and more. You can join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. CST on NewsOK.com/Sports. Here's a recap of today's Q&A.
Oklahoman Modified: November 19, 2012 at 4:10 pm •  Published: November 19, 2012
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The Oklahoman's Mike Sherman took questions from readers in today's Power Lunch Chat covering Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, the Oklahoma City Thunder and more. You can join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. CST on NewsOK.com/Sports. Here's a recap of today's Q&A:

ON OKLAHOMA SOONERS FOOTBALL:

I thought Landry Jones played great against West Virginia. Your thoughts?

Never better, in every way. The last throw -- an audible to Kenny Stills -- goes down as the signature moment of his OU career. I can't imagine a better way for him to go into Senior Day. He showed poise. His one interception wasn't the typical locked-in-on-a-receiver variety. It was essentially a punt -- arm punt as they call it. He was incredible and OU needed every ounce of it.

I think Landry Jones played great against an awful defense.

That's true. But since a better one wasn't available Saturday night in Morgantown I'm not holding it against him.

How would you grade Mike Stoops' return and performance at OU? Still a success?

I'd give him a B-minus. You can't really blame the defense for either of the two losses -- Kansas State or Notre Dame. OU's high-powered offense produced two touchdowns against K-State and one against the Irish. Not saying the Sooner defense was dominant, but it was good enough to win both games. Now, the last two games have been atrocious. I don't buy the bit about having to choose between stopping the pass or run, and was glad to see Bob Stoops didn't trot it out Saturday night in West Virginia.

The true measure of Mike Stoops' return will probably be in recruiting. Let's see how he upgrades the defense between now and Signing Day 2013. But Mike Stoops is the defensive coordinator for a team with a chance to win a Big 12 title.

How did OU get to the point where its linebackers are so bad?

I don't know, but outside of Te'o at Notre Dame where have all the dominant linebackers gone? Who has great linebacking these days? Are LBs and endangered species? Finding guys who can fill a hole to stuff a run AND drop back in coverage against slot receivers and tight ends like Blake Jackson AND tackle Tavon Austin in the open field? There just can't be too many of those guys walking the Earth. Time for the species to evolve. Maybe turning 7-on-7 into a tackle-football operation would help. That said, yes, OU needs better linebackers. Put that on Mike Stoops/Tim Kish's offseason to-do list.

Do you think that OU's banged up offensive line will struggle this week?

I've been hearing that these are the best defensive tackles OSU has had in a long time. James Castleman sure looked good Saturday and I hear good things about Calvin Barnett, though I'd have to study it a lot more to say how good he is. If those DTs are really that much better than OU's line could struggle. But the way offensive football is played in the Big 12 these day, coordinators seem to have a lot of ways to work around line troubles. It shows up some, but not in a decisive way.

 

ON OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS FOOTBALL:

Who's your pick in the Bedlam game?

I have until Wednesday to decide, which is a good thing because I don't know. Going with the home team in this rivalry is probably the safe way, which I didn't choose last year (I believe Berry Tramel and I were the only staff members who picked the Sooners, and we all know how that turned out).

Here's what would make me more prone to pick the Cowboys to pull off the (moderate) upset: A better running game. Oklahoma State isn't running the football the way it did last year.

Berry Tramel posted a blog on this topic earlier today, pointing out that Joseph Randle has gone three games without a 100-yard performance. Seems like Saturday would be a good time to rediscover the running game considering the Sooners gave up 458 yards on the ground to Tavon Austin and the Moutaineers.

I haven't had the chance to read Berry's blog about OSU's running game, but one reason it's been tougher the past two games is because WVU and TTU both crowded the box to stop the run and challenged Chelf to beat them passing, which he did.

That's a good point. Berry points out that Randle averaged 3.9 yards a carry during that three-game span without a 100-yard performance. Before that he averaged 5.9 in the first six games. OU's strategy of backing off to defend the pass hasn't worked so swimmingly versus Baylor and West Virginia, so Randle may see something similar Saturday.

I'm glad Gundy named Clint Chelf the starter for Bedlam after all these weeks of QB drama. But if Lunt is going to be the guy in the future, why not go with him?

Because Mike Gundy obviously believes Clint Chelf gives OSU the best chance to win. Maybe because Wes Lunt still isn't 100 percent healthy. Probably because he's made some bad decisions on throws that turned into interceptions. And definitely because the future is now.

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by Mike Sherman
Sports Editor
Mike Sherman is sports editor of The Oklahoman, where he has a combined 18 years of service during two stints as a writer and an editor. He covered high school sports for The Oklahoman from 1984-93. He also worked as a news writer for the...
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