Big 12 Media Days: Stoops Pleased With Jones

Oklahoma is favored to win the Big 12 and OU quarterback Landry Jones was voted the All-Big 12 preseason quarterback. Those are two opinions of the media that Sooner head coach Bob Stoops is in full agreement with the fifth estate, otherwise known as the media.

"Yeah, I think just naturally, you know, he had some really big games down the last stretch of the year," Stoops said Tuesday at Big 12 Football Media Day of his quarterback.

"When you look at on the road at Oklahoma State, and you look at the Big 12 championship game against a great defense in Nebraska and the way he played, and into the Fiesta Bowl, he really played great and was a great factor, major factor in his performance in us winning those games.

"So I think ... and then you add, you know, the winter, how hard he works, that everybody recognizes and just now the experience, his confidence, all of it is natural as a guy matures and gains in age and gains what's success.

"So he's just become a really strong leader. And now he's more comfortable. And I think more than anyone the quarterback needs to be a leader. If he hasn't played and earned the respect by performance and meeting challenges and then doesn't have the confidence yet, it's hard to be that guy. Well, he has all of that now. And so he's a true, true leader on this team."

It is that leadership by Jones and a lot of the Sooners, including linebacker Travis Lewis, that has helped as Stoops and his staff ease the program through a troubled summer that included the death of OU linebacker Austin Box.

"I don't know how I did it, to be honest with you," Stoops said. "And I think the players, more than anything, really, I think, leaned on each other, (and) us as coaches leaned on them. There's no words that truly can describe how you hurt and how the players hurt.

"Austin was a great, great spirit in the locker room. He was a friend to everybody, and he's one of those special characters, a young person that everybody loved to see. So you miss that. And it doesn't go away. So, again, there's no really proper way to describe it. So we're still working through it.

"And, again, I think that the players have really leaned on each other," Stoops continued. "And the leaders are guys that ... I'm sure will help pull us through it. And as a team, it's something even when we get back together that we'll address again and just try to keep putting one foot in front of the other to move forward without forgetting."

I think the memory of Box will be a motivating factor for Oklahoma all season long as he was a popular teammate and model of competition.


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