ESPN college football analyst Danny Kanell has never broadcast a Bedlam football game. He had never even been to Oklahoma. But Kanell will be able relate to both starting quarterbacks when he calls the 2:30 p.m. game Saturday on ESPN with play-by-play announcer Bob Wischusen and reporter Maria Taylor.
A standout quarterback at Florida State from 1993-95, Kanell followed a legend in Charlie Ward, who not only won the Seminoles' first Heisman Trophy, he led the school to its first national title. In following NFL No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford, Landry Jones has failed to live up to the expectations of some Sooner fans despite breaking most of the school's passing records.
“The bar all of a sudden gets raised, at some times, to an unobtainable level,” Kanell said in a phone interview. “I've watched Landry quite a bit through his career. I have always liked what he brings to the table. I think he has had an enormous amount of pressure placed on him and a lot of it he brought on himself because of the sophomore season he had.”
Kanell noted that personnel changes also have make it harder for Landry to succeed.
“The offensive line this year had some issues. He lost the all-time leading receiver in the NCAA (Ryan Broyles) and yet he has shown some amazing resiliency. And then the other thing, look at who Oklahoma has lost to this year. They have lost to two teams that are ranked No. 1. Notre Dame is ranked No. 1 now and Kansas State was ranked No. 1 a week ago. It's not as bad as people want to make it seem.”
Kanell can relate to OSU junior quarterback Clint Chelf in that he remembers being an inexperienced quarterback making his first start in the Orange Bowl against rival Miami.
“The first drive we marched up the field and I literally remember thinking to myself, ‘This isn't so bad. This isn't that big of a deal,' Kanell said. “Meanwhile, I got a little cocky and threw an interception in the red zone and proceeded to throw three interceptions on the night and get benched. The moments start to get to you.”
Kanell's advice to Chelf: Don't try to do too much yourself.