“We love the guy and what he does is really special,” Stoops said of Bell. “But the other guy (Jones) has been out there, getting sacked, getting his tooth chipped and bringing us down there (to the goal line).”
The Sooners will now wait for Jones to determine whether will enter the NFL Draft. He said this week he will likely wait until the Jan. 15 deadline to decide. He said he has been frequently “going back and forth.”
Stoops has indicated he is OK with either choice for the junior from New Mexico, the school's all-time leading passer.
Jones was hamstrung in the bowl, and late in the year, by season-ending injuries to his No. 1 and No. 3 receivers. Ryan Broyles, the NCAA career receptions leader, was lost Nov. 5 to a knee injury. Jaz Reynolds took a shot to the kidney against Oklahoma State.
Those were just two of the more important injuries that impacted the Sooners during the course of the year. Losing starting running back Dominique Whaley in October was another. All-conference center Ben Habern, a captain, missed half the year with a broken arm.
And on and on.
“I don't trumpet that, but you're absolutely right it is (a big part of the recent narrative),” Stoops said. “Those years you win (championships), you usually have had very few of it to deal with. Or maybe they miss one game, you have a tight game and they're back. It's those kinds of things.”
Stoops still hung his hat on what, with Friday night's win, became OU's 33rd 10-win season — more than any program in the country (Alabama has 31).
“The general public, if I don't win the national championship, (it thinks) I need to be miserable,” Stoops said. “I have a different perspective. Anytime you win 10 games … let's look around the world, the country, and there's not a lot that do it consistently.
“No, I'm never pleased if we don't win some type of championship, meaning Big 12 or national. But I also have perspective of some of the difficulties we've gone through.”