Jones Emerges As Savvy QB Heading Into '11

Perhaps people were comparing him too much to Sam Bradford.

Or perhaps they were just getting greedy and expecting an unrealistic perfection out of quarterback Landry Jones.

"You guys, you know, anyone go out there and try throwing the ball 40 times and not having an errant hiccup here or there," said OU head coach Bob Stoops. "You know, that's not easy."

Whatever the case, as the Sooners head into the offseason, move through spring and towards the 2011 season, Jones has developed into a very savvy signal caller for the Sooners.

"Yeah, confidence, calmness, he's grown up in that he doesn't get rattled when he makes a bad play," Stoops said.

That all was evidenced by his play in OU's recent 48-20 victory over UConn in the Fiesta Bowl.

Jones completed his first 12 passing attempts, then tossed a pick-six.

But instead of folding up in a pressure cooker situation, that of a BCS bowl, he responded with resolve and resiliency on his way to completing 34-of-49 passes for 429 yards and three touchdowns, with that one mistake.

"Yeah, as a quarterback you are going to throw interceptions," Jones said. "In a football game, things are going to happen. Just thinking back on Oklahoma State and just some of the games where we had multiple-interception games, just learning from those experiences and guys just really brought me through a lot this season, playing bad on the road and then coming back and playing really well. And just remembering how it felt and just getting yourself over that and letting it fly the next time you get it [was crucial]."

Jones is a guy that, as everyone recalls, was thrown into the fire back in the season opener of 2009, when Bradford suffered an AC sprain in his right shoulder against BYU.

He was forced to instantly take the reins of the Sooner offense before actually being the starter heading into a season in 2010, which has to be a contributing factor to why Jones has made the leap he has so quickly.

"That's not unnatural," Stoops said. "He's a smart guy who works hard. This is only his first year truly, you know, starting, being prepared for being a starter and only his second year playing."

And he's excelled.

Jones threw for more than 4,700 yards and 38 touchdowns, while tossing only 12 interceptions.

That's greater than a three-to-one touchdown-interception ratio, not too shabby for a sophomore quarterback.

"Landry, I have been saying it all year, has a huge future," Stoops said. "He has had a great--he had a huge year this year. I mean, this guy is special. He's a long way from a finished product, and he is also a special and great quarterback, and everyone is realizing it. I'm sure Landry would credit Coach [Josh] Heupel and his coaching and all his other coaches, too. And he works hard. He has got the attitude. He is humble. He pushes himself. You have that kind of guy that has talent with it, and he is going to be special."

So special, he just might join Heupel and a few other special quarterbacks that have national championships tied to their name.

Just maybe it could happen, with a little luck to go along with all that talent.

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