“I believe it's a great advantage, just the leadership, the poise, being able to hopefully avoid the really poor plays that put you in bad positions, with turnovers,” Stoops said. “Hopefully there's increased precision and execution. That's what you usually get with a more mature and experienced quarterback.”
Jones sees specific areas where he needs to grow — making the spring important, even if he has practiced and played as much as he has. He said he can always make sharper decisions, better understand the offense — and become more mobile.
That last issue has always been a hot button with Jones, who doesn't exactly admit to being nimble. But he's working on it. Jones said he has been involved in mobility drills.
“It comes with practice,” he said. “(Quarterbacks coach Josh Heupel) is doing a good job putting us through some stuff.”
Lineman Gabe Ikard said the team appreciated Jones' decision to spurn the NFL dollars and return to school.
“We're excited to have him back,” Ikard said. “He's as vocal as he's ever been. He's doing all the right things. He's being Landry. He's the leader of the team. We all know that. I'm very, very thankful to have him back.”
While that's the team's take, a faction of fans groaned when Jones announced he was coming back. Ikard, for one, noticed — and wondered why.
“How can you be mad that he's coming back?” Ikard said.
The theories — complaints, really — are fairly standard: He isn't Bradford. Fans clamor for change, typically. He doesn't run enough. He doesn't yell enough.
“You've got the best quarterback in the country coming back on your team,” Ikard said. “All you keep hearing is fans and people complaining. You're like, ‘Stop.'”
Well, what would stop it? More wins? More yards? Or a ring like the one his quarterbacks coach has?
All of the above? That's why he turned down the first round, really.
“It speaks to what he wants to accomplish,” Heupel said. “He wants to push himself in the top tier.”