Landry Jones the other day addressed the issue of throwing so much to Ryan Broyles in years past. When Broyles went down with a major knee injury in November 2011, the Sooner offense sputtered.
This season, Landry has not relied so heavily on one particular receiver. But he also had a common sense answer to his reliance on Broyles.
“You look at a player like Ryan, why wouldn’t you throw him the ball?” Landry said. “If people want to knock that, then they want to knock it.”
But it got me to thinking. How much has Landry spread around the ball this season? This year, like last year, the receiving corps received a mid-season jolt. Last year, the loss of Broyles. This year, the addition of Jalen Saunders, starting with the Texas game.
Last season, Broyles averaged 9.2 catches a per game.
Last season, Kenny Stills averaged 4.6 catches with Broyles, 5.0 without Broyles. This year, Stills has averaged 6.3 catches per game.
Since Stills is the only wide receiver veteran, he’s the only relevant comparison.
But last season, Jaz Reynolds’ catches went down after Broyles went out (3.6, 2.3). So did Trey Millard’s (1.0, 0.5). Going up were Trey Franks (1.0, 3.3); James Hanna (1.9, 2.5); Roy Finch (2.6, 2.8); Dejuan Miller (1.2, 2.8); Brennan Clay (1.0, 2.3); Kameel Jackson (0.3, 2.3); and Trent Ratterree (0.6, 1.3).
This season, Landry is spreading it around much more. Stills and Saunders each 6.3 catches per game, Justin Brown 5.5, Sterling Shepard 3.4, Millard and Damien Williams 2.4.
That’s fairly impressive. OU’s three leading receivers are within one catch per game of each other, adjusting for the fact that Saunders didn’t start playing until the second week of October.
The knock on Landry, that he locks in on one special receiver? Maybe he’s guilty as charged. And maybe the interesting point is not that the locking in, but the special receiver. When you’ve got Ryan Broyles, throw him the ball.