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Mailbag: Readers offer thoughts on Landry Jones, OU’s talent and the need for playoffs

by Jason Kersey Published: October 6, 2012

LUBBOCK, Texas — I would like for my weekly mailbag blog post to be a Thursday feature; after one week, I’ve already blown my own deadline by two days.

Yikes.

I apologize for the delay; hopefully this will be the last one. I’ve got lots of emails to respond to, and on a variety of topics and/or stories I’ve written over the past week.

I’ll include links to the original stories that each reader is responding to as part of this post.

We are mere hours away from the Oklahoma-Texas Tech kickoff inside Jones AT&T Stadium, so let’s get started with the mailbag.

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Red Boomer frequently emails when he feels I’ve somehow slighted Texas Tech. Here was his note after my content in Monday’s newspaper; I think he’s referring to my OU-Texas Tech glance, in which I refer to superior talent as being a possible difference in OU’s favor Saturday. I got a pretty good kick out of this one.

I’m going to award you the Mr. Predictable award for saying that Oklahoma has more talent than Texas Tech, since the Red Raiders, as all the world knows, are a motley collection of undersized, unrecruited West Texas scrappers who couldn’t make the grade anywhere else.

Fact: None of Tech’s players was offered a scholarship to any other D1 school.

Fact: Most of Tech’s linebackers and DB’s are actually bulldoggers recruited off our nationally ranked rodeo team.

Fact: Our QB, Stump Dogie, never played football before he came to Tech.  He’s actually a champeen calf roper from Lone Star Beer, Texas, which didn’t offer football.  Coach Leach saw him roping and talked him into trying out for football.

Fact: All our WRs and RBs are little, slow white boys who played for tiny little W. Texas Class A towns.

Fact: No Tech player has ever played in the NFL, but several went on to be enshrined in the Rodeo Hall of Fame.

Fact: Tech has never really beaten OU.  Either Tech cheated or it wasn’t “The Real Sooners.”

Fact: Tech doesn’t even hold spring training because most of its players have to leave school to go home and help with spring roundup.

Sooner fans can relax.  It shouldn’t even be close.

Red Boomer: Well done. I don’t know that there’s much I can say to make you believe that I don’t have any deep-seated animosity toward your beloved Red Raiders. As a matter of fact, an old family friend from my home town  — Colby Whitlock from Noble, Okla. — played for Tech, and I even went to SMU and cheered for the Red Raiders in the first game of Colby’s freshman season. That’s about the only time in recent memory that I’ve taken sides in a Texas Tech game, and it was only because of Colby. Trust me, I’m not for or against Tech; nor am I for or against the Sooners. I think OU’s talent level is higher, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think there’s a good chance Texas Tech wins Saturday. Talent is only part of it; Tech has been the better team in many of these games against OU, no doubt.

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David wrote in response to my fun look at OU fans’ five stages of grief after losses. He is upset that OU’s early-season loss to a ranked team all but ruins the Sooners’ chance at a national title.

This is why college football is ridiculous. One loss early and your season is over. The BCS idiots say they want meaningful games in the context of the national championship picture. Their argument is crazy because now none of OU’s games are meaningful for the remainder of the season in this context. A playoff where all conference champions are involved would make for more meaningful games during the course of the season. This is why the NFL is far superior to the joke that college football has become.

David: I agree that the “regular season matters in college football” argument against a strong playoff system is silly. If that were true, LSU-Alabama 2011 would’ve decided which team played for the national title; instead, LSU unfairly had to beat Bama twice to be champs, where Bama only had to beat LSU once. I think the four-team playoff coming soon is a step in the right direction, although I’d like to see it expanded. Not sure I agree, though, that it should only be conference champs in a playoff system. If teams have to win the title by fighting through a tough playoff system, the arguments against postseason rematches go out the window, in my opinion.

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Jason wrote in response to my last mailbag blog post, and he is a strong believer that replacing Landry Jones with Blake Bell is the answer to the Sooners’ offenseive woes.

Really enjoyed the mailbag addition to the blog. It is something I’ve always enjoyed of Stewart Mandel’s at SI.com and I think provides some good interaction with the fans.

I’ve tried hard to support and defend Landry over the last two years but at some point it becomes hard. I do trust the coaches to put the best product on the field in order to win games. The thing that frustrates me, and is a challenge with college football roster management, Landry is gone next year and we will have to challenge with a new QB. We all know the value of game experience and if we lose a couple of more games this year I don’t see the upside of starting a lameduck QB and missout on that valuable game experience for development.

I disagree with your quote “But that still doesn’t justify putting him in the lineup over a four-year starter.” Just because one has started for several years doesn’t mean they are the better QB. You see it a lot with the other positions on the field. Should we have started Kejuan Jones over Adrian Peterson because he had one more year of starting experience and Adrian was unproven? I know the QB position is a special position but at some point you have to look to the future and develop the talen for the next year.

I also disagree that fans would get frustrated with Bell if they put him at QB. I think there is a good portion of the fanbase that would give the team some slack if they knew Bell was getting the experience this year to better prepare for a run next season (although that doesn’t look promising right now with the roster turnover projected). As frustrating as 2005 was I think many a fan realized it was a team rebuilding for 2006 and beyond.

Jason: Thanks for the kind words on the mailbag. I understand what you’re saying, but don’t you think there’s a difference between benching Kejuan Jones in favor of a freshman who is among the most talented Sooners ever, and benching a four-year starting QB in favor of a redshirt sophomore?

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Okie in Az emailed in response to this article, in which I point to Oklahoma’s apprent lack of game-changing talent like Adrian Peterson or Tommie Harris as a possible explanation for the Sooners’ struggles.

J, stop trashing the Sooners and their current players. The season is young and OU played well and with excellent energy against KState, but Landry gave the game away. Sure the high turnover rate of players has hurt, but OU has enough talent to win the Big 12 if they bench the 5th year Senior QB. Jones is not an inspirational player, an emotional leader, Bell is.You say no game changers? Ridiculous, with good play selection and execution OU has several players that can be game changers. The problem is Landry, this team played very hard and he gave it away … It all starts at QB. Its time for a change and for you and others to stop blaming the team.

Okie in Az: The article wasn’t meant to trash anyone; just pointing out what seems to be a good explanation for some of OU’s problems. I think OU’s overall talent is strong, but no one has shown himself to be that game changer yet. Maybe that will change if Damien Williams gets some more carries, or maybe someone else will emerge. While I’ve been open about believing Landry Jones needs big improvement, I don’t think that simply benching him will cure all the Sooners’ problems.

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Larry frequently emails to offer his thoughts on OU football. He’s a loyal reader and I always look forward to reading what he has to say. This time, he wrote in response to my last mailbag.

Just read your mailbag on fan comments on Landry Jones.  Confirmed my belief that there are a lot of OU Sooner fans who are ‘scary and confused’.  Not saying they are stupid, just ignorant about what you wrote, and football in general.  OU’s best chance to win is of course with Landry and I’m sure the coaches will game plan for Texas Tech bringing the house against him, lot of quick throws, screens, keeping a back in to block, draw plays, and a lot of smart stuff I’m looking forward to seeing.   Given last year’s game, this is really a chance for ‘redemption’ for both Landry, as well as the defense.   Talk about a HUGE game for this year’s season.

Larry: Thanks for the kind words, and I agree. I certainly never meant imply that OU fans who want Blake Bell to start are stupid, but I remain unconvinced that would really accomplish anything. Like you wrote, Landry Jones, with all his flaws, still gives the Sooners their best chance at success this year, in my opinion. Things would have to get much, much worse with Landry before I would even entertain the idea that a quarterback switch would be a good idea. But I suppose you never say never.

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by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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