Jones a new man

DALLAS — A pitcher needs his catcher to call the game.

A basketball center needs his point guard to orchestrate the offense to get the ball to him.

A quarterback needs his other half at wide receiver to paste defenses and post explosive numbers.

And a man sometimes just needs his better half to live the rest of his life.

Sooner signal caller Landry Jones got that in the form of OU women's basketball player Whitney Hand when the two tied the knot July 6.

For that came some relief.

"I think she's more glad than I am," Jones said, smiling. "You know, I wasn't a big part of that type of deal, but she did a great job in planning and doing that whole deal."

Now, it's an adjustment for him.

"Yeah, a little different," Jones said. "You know, now we're living together figuring that whole deal out. But it's fun and exciting at the same time."

It's not the first adjustment in Jones' life, or in his OU career, for that matter.

Jones arrived on campus in 2008 and a year later, found himself thrown into the fire after Sam Bradford went down with an AC sprain in his right shoulder against BYU.

He later became the guy after Bradford returned and re-aggravated it against Texas, which required season-ending surgery.

Then, last year the OU all-time passing leader with 12,379 yards lost his No. 1 target, all-time NCAA receptions leader Ryan Broyles, who tore his ACL.

So, going through a wedding was just one more trial for the strongly convicted Christian from Artesia, N.M.

"I got a married quarterback," said OU head coach Bob Stoops. "Good for him. He's got a special wife, too. No, we'll coach Landry like we always have."

And the players will razz him like they normally do with each other.

"We give him a hard time, we got to give all the other players on the team a hard time that's married," said OU cornerback Demontre Hurst, who added he didn't get a chance to attend the wedding. "So, we might throw a little something at him every now and then. You know what I mean? ‘You gotta go home early. Can't stay out late.' So, it'll be there every now and then, but I think that will be fine."

One common joke Jones can't get enough of is how Mrs. Jones is a better athlete than Mr.

"It's definitely not Landry," Hurst said. "Whitney got him beat by far."

After all, the fellow redshirt senior has accumulated more than 1,100 points in her career to go along with almost 500 rebounds and 108 steals.

But Landry isn't so sure.

"I don't know, we'll have to have a little competition to figure that one out, like a daylong competition of all different games," Jones said with a grin.

Regardless, the wedding highlighted a summer that precedes the fifth and final year of Jones' storied career, a career that has become possible in large part because of a bond he's shared with teammate Ben Habern, who was a part of Jones' special day.

"Yeah, Landry and I, we came in 2008 as freshmen," Habern said. "I guess when we were freshmen it was kinda unspoken that we were gonna be the next center-quarterback connection or whatever you want to call it. And so just to see our relationship build and we both had the opportunity to start early as redshirt freshmen, and so, you know, we got to experience that early and it just kept on going and it's just been fun to have a friend like him.

"And to be in his wedding was a blast. It was, you know, a fun experience and kind of a cool stage of your life to walk through with him."

Jones now shifts his attention to back to the field, where OU stands in at No. 5 in most polls that have been released.

And like previous years, he has yet another trial and tribulation in front of him.

This time, in light of three indefinite suspensions--Jaz Reynolds, Trey Franks and Kameel Jackson have since been stripped of their scholarships--it's molding together a set of new and largely inexperienced receivers with veteran Kenny Stills.

"I mean, obviously Kenny Stills, and he's not a new face but excited about him coming back," Jones said. "Sterling Shepard, Durron Neal, those guys are doing a great job for us right now. We just have so many new faces in that receiving corps right now. It's exciting to see all those new guys and see how they're gonna come along."

True freshman Trey Metoyer, who arrived from Hargrave Prep School in the spring, impressed big time during spring ball and should have a breakout season this fall with Jones' guidance.

"New wide receivers it's always fun to see the athletic ability," Jones said. "Different personalties [are] coming in as well, so I'm confident enough to be able to be around this offense, to be able to coach them up and really let them know what I expect out of them. And then also being able to be on the same page of how they like to run a route and how I want the route to be run as well."

So, the talent is there at the skill positions, plus Jones has a veteran offensive line to protect him, in order to maximize this offense's potential and send them on their way to a special season.

Now, it's just about doing it.

And this time, Jones has his better half to help him out along the way, including in the meal department.

"Oh yeah, she's a great cook," Jones said. "Yeah, I'll be eating good. She makes like this pecan crescent chicken that's really good. She kinda does it all. She's actually a really good cook. I was pleasantly surprised."

Sooner nation will be pleasant with another big year from Jones that guides them towards the national championship.

Follow me at twitter.com/joeyhelmer10 or facebook.com/joeyhelmer.


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