NORMAN – I didn't see Bob Stoops on Thursday. But I have no doubt what he did upon confirmation that Landry Jones would indeed return to quarterback the Sooners in 2012.
Stoops stayed poised. Kept a stoic gaze. Talked in short, declarative sentences.
Then drove home, locked the door behind him and danced a jig. Floated through Stoops Manor with his arms in the air, like George Costanza in Central Park after meeting Marisa Tomei.
Landry's return is joyous news for Stoops. Landry make the Sooners the choice to win the 2012 Big 12 title.
Forget the harebrained speculation that OU somehow would be better off with new blood at QB. That's beyond silly. When a quarterback with 37 career starts and a first-round NFL Draft grade wants to stay on campus, you throw your arms around his legs and say thank you, thank you, thank you.
Landry's return doesn't guarantee OU a Big 12 title in 2012. But his departure would have come close to guaranteeing the trophy would land somewhere besides Soonerville.
Only twice in the league's 16-year history has the Big 12 been won by a first-year starting quarterback. Granted, Stoops has pulled the trick both times, with Paul Thompson in 2006 and Slingin' Sammy B. in 2007.
But every other Big 12 champ has relied on an experienced QB, be it a part-time starter from the year before (Colorado's Bobby Pesavento in 2001, OU's Nate Hybl in 2002) or an established star (Brandon Weeden 2011, Colt McCoy 2009, Bradford repeating in 2008, Vince Young 2005, Jason White 2004, Josh Heupel 2000, Eric Crouch 1999, Michael Bishop 1998).
Uh, notice a trend? This isn't the SEC. You don't win championships out here with mastodon defenses and game managers at quarterback. Eight of the 16 Big 12 titles have been won by quarterbacks who at some point in their career placed in the top three of the Heisman Trophy voting.
And even with Weeden, Robert Griffin, Ryan Tannehill and James Franklin headed out the door, Big 12 quarterbacking won't wilt. The new kids on the block are bringing big-time passers. TCU's Casey Pachall was excellent as a 2011 sophomore; West Virginia's Geno Smith just beat Clemson 70-33.
So Landry is pivotal to Sooner success in 2012. Sure, he struggled down the stretch without Ryan Broyles. But who even knows if that was Landry's fault? The Sooner receivers looked ordinary without Broyles. Whatever ailed them should be fixable, plus fresh recruits arrive at a position that is the easiest for rookies to conquer.
Blake Bell's rugby offense only enhances Landry's value. The Belldozer was an offensive breakthrough the latter half of the year. The Sooners can do much more with it and will. Which only makes Landry's offense better.
How are defenses supposed to prepare for the 2012 Sooners, knowing they're going to see a spread passing game 80 percent of the time, but the other 20 percent face an infantry strategy straight out of 1926? Foes weekly will break NCAA practice-restriction rules.
Questions still plague these Sooners. Can someone cover the deep ball? Will Stoops shake up his staff? Are enough of these guys committed to the ways that produced seven Big 12 titles in 11 years?
But the biggest question has been answered. Landry Jones will quarterback Oklahoma, and that means the Sooners start 2012 in the pole position of Big 12 football.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.