Oklahoma football: How much does Landry Jones’ experience help?
Landry Jones enters the 2012 college football season with 37 career starts. So barring injury he’ll finish with 50, which won’t be a national record but will be an OU record. Heck, if Jones gets in one start, it’s an OU record.
Jones and Cale Gundy are tied for the Sooner record for quarterback starts. Here’s the list:
37: Landry Jones, 2009-11; Cale Gundy, 1990-93.
34: Steve Davis, 1973-75; Jack Mildren, 1969-71.
33: Jamelle Holieway, 1985-88.
32: Jason White, 2001-04.
31: Sam Bradford, 2007-09.
30: Bobby Warmack, 1966-68
29: Thomas Lott, 1976-78.
25: Josh Heupel, 1999-00; J.C. Watts, 1978-80; Jimmy Harris, 1954-56.
24: Danny Bradley, 1982-84.
23: Nate Hybl, 2001-02.
22 Jack Mitchell, 1946-48.
20: Eddie Crowder, 1951-52.
18: Eric Moore, 1995-98.
17: Kelly Phelps, 1981-82
16: Darrell Royal, 1947-49.
15: Gene Calame, 1953-54.
So you can see, there’s really not a comparable player to Jones in OU history. No Sooner quarterback ever has entered his final season so experienced. Gundy entered his senior year with 25 starts. Bradford entered his fourth year (junior) with 28 starts. Davis and Mildren entered their senior years with 22 starts.
The only other OU quarterback who started parts of four seasons was Holieway, but he had just one full season. Holieway took over for the injured Troy Aikman and started the final eight games of 1985. Holieway quarterbacked all 12 games of 1986, then Holieway suffered that major knee injury against OSU, nine games into the 1987 season. So that was 27 starts going into 1988, when Holieway was a shell of his former self but still started six games.
And here’s Landry Jones with 37 career starts.
The Sooners’ 2012 hopes ride largely on Landry’s experience. OU has the quarterback edge on most of America. Landry is the primary difference, for example, between the Sooners and their chief rivals, OSU and Texas, one of which is breaking in a freshman quarterback and the other of which still is looking for the next Colt McCoy.
So, how has OU fared in the five seasons in which it had its most-experienced quarterback? Here they are:
1. 2009: Bradford was the reigning Heisman Trophy winner. The Sooners were rebuilding to some degree, with a revamped offensive line and new wide receivers, but they had elite talent — as evidenced by the NFL Draft the next April, when OU had three of the top four picks and four first-round picks. But OU’s season went crashing down at the end of the first half of the season opener. Bradford suffered a shoulder injury against Brigham Young. He returned a month later, played great against Baylor, then suffered a similar injury against Texas and was lost for the season, paving the way for Jones. OU stumbled to an 8-5 record.
2. 1988: Holieway had lost his quickness, but he still started half the season, even though Charles Thompson clearly was the better quarterback. OU lost 23-7 at Southern Cal in September, then 7-3 at home to Nebraska, during which Thompson suffered a broken leg. Holieway quarterbacked OU in the Citrus Bowl, a 13-6 loss to Clemson, ending a forgettable 9-3 season.
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