And despite the inexperienced tight ends, Jones' senior year was without question better than his junior season. He improved his decision making, learned to play without Ryan Broyles and recorded better statistics in virtually every passing category.
Like Stoops said, the offense was clearly best with four wide receivers. Without important contributions from Justin Brown, Kenny Stills, Jalen Saunders and Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma's 10-3 record and co-Big 12 championship might not have been attainable.
There's reason to believe the Sooners' tight end situation will improve next season, though. Freshmen Taylor McNamara and Sam Grant each redshirted last season — McNamara after an early season injury — and Green returns with more experience. The Sooners appear very deep at receiver once again, but losing Brown and Stills might create some opportunities for tight ends to become involved in the offense.
“I feel much better about (it),” Stoops said. “It's not unusual for two freshmen to come along and become stronger blockers and a bigger presence in what they're trying to do. Same thing with Brannon Green, he has more experience in what we're asking him to do.”
The unit is also getting a fresh start under new position coach Jay Boulware, who said he expects the tight ends to resume their significance in the Oklahoma offense.
“We're in the process of incorporating our tight ends more, doing some things,” Boulware said. “It's not gonna happen overnight, but as you well know, this (program) does have a great tradition of great tight ends that come through here, and we're gonna get it back to that level.”