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Landry Jones' return has received mixed reactions from Sooner Nation

Fair or not, many fans compare Jones' performance to a pair of OU's greatest quarterbacks — Jason White and Sam Bradford. But that is to be expected.
by Jenni Carlson Published: April 13, 2012

John McLaughlin is a stay-till-the-end type of Sooner fan.

Last season, he waited through that excruciating rain delay before the Texas Tech game, then sat through every last second of that excruciating loss to the Red Raiders.

He is all in when it comes to Oklahoma.

Except for this one thing.

“I'm disappointed that Landry Jones has returned,” McLaughlin said.

He just can't get behind the fact that the Sooners' senior signal caller is back for one more season at OU.

The metro-area resident isn't alone.

On the day Jones plays again on Owen Field during OU's Spring Game, there are plenty of fans conflicted about his return. Yes, he's a three-year starter who has won 30 games in his Sooner career and has a chance to break every major passing record in school history. Sure, he's bound to be on every preseason Heisman Trophy watch list come the fall.

But despite those credentials, there was not a unanimous sigh of relief in the Sooner Nation when he decided not to bypass his senior season for the NFL.

Make no mistake — a majority of OU fans jumped for joy at the news of Jones' return. But the fact that there were any fans who were less than thrilled, much less a sizable group of them?

That's peculiar.

The whole thing fascinated me so much that I went looking for some answers. I asked Sooner fans to share their thoughts on my blog, on Twitter and on email, and what they said was enlightening.

For starters, most fans are glad that Jones is still wearing the crimson and cream. Their reasons are many.

Some like the fact that there's experience at the quarterback position. And there's little doubt how valuable that is. Jones has already started 37 games, tying him with Cale Gundy for most starts for a Sooner quarterback.

Other Sooner fans contend that Jones was better than he was given credit for last season. OU started the year as a national-title contender but finished it with three losses and a trip to the Insight Bowl. While the failings of the defensive secondary took the lion's share of the blame, Jones took some heat, too.

But he was playing much of the season without his most lethal weapons. Losing Dom Whaley and Ryan Broyles were big-time blows.

“The injuries we had last year would've affected anyone,” Mike McCormick said.

Count the Sooner fan from Shreveport, La., among the group that is glad Jones returned.

“With what we have coming back ... we need our best player at quarterback coming back, and without a doubt, that is LJ,” he said. “I'm not thrilled about turning this offense over ... to a guy or guys who have yet to take a meaningful snap in a game.”

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by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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