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OU football: Landry Jones' return for final term has teammates, coaches excited

by Jason Kersey Published: August 26, 2012
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Bell emerged a hero during the final six games of last season, when Jones began temporarily signing over to Bell his quarterbacking powers in goal-line and short-yardage situations.

The then-freshman Belldozed his way into the end zone 13 times, and accounted for 11 of OU's final 14 scores of the season. Despite Bell's single completed pass in four attempts, with one interception, many anxiously are awaiting his coronation.

Jones, of course, didn't and doesn't have to be elected by Sooner fans. Ultimately, being chosen as a Sooners quarterback requires the final approval of just one man, and the incumbent has long enjoyed coach Bob Stoops' endorsement and complete confidence. Sometimes, when Stoops is on the stump, at Sooner Caravan campaign rallies or during media sessions, the coach's defense of his quarterback becomes passionate.

“I didn't ask him to have to improve on anything,” Stoops said in July. “I asked about ten guys around him (to improve).

“Everybody (said), ‘Landry struggled.' No, he didn't. The offense struggled. ... To me, it's more of an issue of the offense and the offense around him than it is him.”

So what must the soon-to-be winningest quarterback in school history do to secure broader support from the fans to whom he's chosen to give one final term?

Win another Big 12 championship? No, probably not going to be good enough. Become OU's sixth Heisman Trophy winner? Maybe, but he'll probably have to take his talents South Beach in January 2013 and leave a national champion.

“The expectations are what they are,” Stoops said. “He isn't any of those other guys. He's Landry Jones and we love him. I think he's getting ready to have a great year.”

by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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LANDRY JONES' CAMPAIGN SLOGAN

“Practice makes perfect. I've been doing it for five years.”

This was Jones' answer earlier this month when asked about how comfortable he was with all that comes with being an OU quarterback. During Jones' media sessions, he is always kind and respectful, while remaining soft-spoken and often dry in his answers. The above “slogan” would seem just about right were Jones a candidate for office; he's been around a long time and brings lots of experience, but also isn't one to speak extensively about his own strengths.

LANDRY JONES' ENDORSEMENTS

* OU coach Bob Stoops: “He's about to be the all-time leading passer in our history and that's with guys like Jason White and Sam Bradford and Josh Heupel. ... That pretty much says it all.”

* OU co-offensive coordinator Josh Heupel: “He has continued to grow and continued to try and perfect his mechanics and what he is doing with his decision making with the football. Landry played extremely well for a lot of football games here. He would like to put 13 of them together and take us to the championship. That is the reason he came back and those are the things he is pushing for every day.”

* Quarterback guru George Whitfield, Jr., to ESPN.com: “He's an extremely tough individual. He's been in all kinds of wars and big-time matchups at Oklahoma. He's shouldered that offense the better part of three years. ... He understands the game, pre-snap. He just has such a command in terms of his football acumen.”

* OU cornerback Demontre Hurst: “He's a great quarterback ... one of the best in the nation. If I keep competing against him, I know for a fact I'll get better. He's stepping up and being a better leader, and trying to lead his offense, and trying to be better from his mental lapse last year.”

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