After replacing the injured Sam Bradford, Oklahoma sophomore quarterback Landry Jones played well in all five home games last season. But in the 2010 opener against Utah State, Jones completed only 47.2 percent of his passes, threw two interceptions and looked rattled at times.
"I'm not too worried about pass percentage or how many completions I have," Jones said after Tuesday's practice. "I'm happy we got out of there with a win. Obviously, I'd like to play better, but we won the game and that's what we came out to do."
Asked why he didn't play well, Jones responded: "Just didn't. Didn't come out and play the way I'm capable of playing. It happens sometimes."
Wilson: Cut it loose
Coach Bob Stoops and offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson stressed before Monday's practice that the offense played tentatively in the opener.
"When they turn on the lights and cameras, we've got too many guys that worry about making a mistake," Wilson said. "Learn how to cut it loose, how to play with an edge — maintain some intelligence and be smart — but quit trying to be perfect, quit worrying about screwing up.
"Pin your ears back, fly around and look like how an Oklahoma team looks instead of playing tentatively."
Stoops said: "They're trying to play too smart. You cannot play this game cautiously. You have to play recklessly (but disciplined)."
Pressure on Ponder
Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder isn't as shifty as Utah State's Diondre Borel. Ponder, though, can move around the pocket and has a veteran offensive line with five starters returning. Applying pressure will be pivotal. Give Ponder too much time and he can pick apart a defense.
"He gets the ball out of his hand really fast," said OU linebacker Travis Lewis. "He's like Sam (Bradford) in the fact he's really smart. He knows where to go with the ball really quick. You don't get a lot of sacks on that guy."
After the Sooners surrendered 301 yards on 12 plays, most on long pass plays, Lewis warned the OU defensive backs they will have targets on their backs this week.
"We believe our cornerbacks and secondary played at an all-time low. They're only going to get better," Lewis said. "We challenged those guys this week, 'You guys opened the floodgates. They're going to pick on you a little bit, so you need to step it up.' I think they'll be up to the challenge."
Center Ben Habern: "After the game, the locker room was kind of dead. We should have played a lot better. A win is a win and we're thankful for that. But after the game we realized there were a couple of chances we missed that we could have put up 52 points. Our defense was kind of frustrated if they don't blow a couple of coverages they don't get 24 points. As negative as it sounds we were still real close to having a great game."
Stoops said three freshmen — defensive tackle Daniel Noble, linebacker Corey Nelson and cornerback Aaron Colvin — might play a few snaps on defense this week. Freshman tight end Austin Haywood, hampered by a pulled muscle last week, also could join the tight end rotation, especially on passing downs. ... Eight true freshmen played in the opener. Nickel back Tony Jefferson and wide receiver Kenny Stills became the first true freshmen to start an opener since Tommie Harris in 2001. ... Stoops said OU's offense was vanilla last week "which didn't help us but we didn't execute as well in some areas as we should have." ... OU punter Tress Way, who averaged 46.6 yards on eight punts, was named co-Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week. ... The Sooners' punt coverage will be tested. Florida State sophomore Greg Reid led the nation in punt returns last season. ... Defensive tackle Adrian Taylor, recovering from major ankle surgery, played 26 snaps against Utah State. Taylor isn't close to 100 percent, but it was a positive sign.