Landry the Heir Apparent?

Oklahoma fans are counting on Landry Jones to be ready to take over when Sam Bradford is gone from the program. While he has looked spotty at times in the practices that we have witnessed, he has been progressing at a solid rate.

When you are considered as one of the best players in the country coming out of high school, and you rack up accolade after accolade along the way it is easy to enter a college program with an unreasonable amount of expectations.

This could indeed be the case with Landry Jones, a 6-foot-5, 215-pound quarterback from New Mexico, who was immediately anointed as the next great OU quarterback before he even officially set foot on the college campus.

Message board posters and radio call-in show fans are casually throwing out comparisons to historically great quarterbacks when talking up Landry, as a matter of fact his high school coach has even compared him to the likes of Tom Brady, who is already one of the most successful in NFL history.

As a senior in high school, Jones earned the lofty expectations. He passed for over 3,500 yards and 44 touchdowns to earn Under Armour All-American honors and help lead his team to a second straight State Title.

Shortly after appearing in the Under Armour All-American Game Jones set out for Norman to get a jump start on his career as a Sooner.

The first taste that OU fans got to see of the heralded quarterback was in the annual Red-White game back in the spring. While Jones did nothing to really impress on the windy day he did show that he had a nice arm.

With the transfer of Keith Nichol to Michigan State Sam Bradford, Joey Halzle, and Landry Jones remain as the only three quarterbacks on the OU roster, making Jones' development that much more important.

After all, as the third team quarterback, he is realistically only one or two unlucky plays away from being thrust under center in some possible big situations.

"That is the nature of the quarterback," OU's quarterback coach Josh Heupel explained. "Your back-up is one play away and your third string guy is two plays away."

Watching Jones this fall it seems pretty obvious that he is starting to pick up the system even more, and he does throw a nice ball. He still has a lot to work on to be game ready, but Heupel is pleased with his development.

"Landry has had a good camp," Heupel said. "We are really pleased with the progress he is making right now."

"I really like Landry. He is a smart kid. He pushes to get better. There is a lot being thrown at him in a quick timeline."

"I am really pleased with his progress over the summer. I am pleased with the way he has worked over the first two weeks of camp."

If Sam Bradford opts to leave the program early for the NFL, then the OU faithful will be counting on Jones to be ready to take over the reigns of the offense as soon as 2010 season.

When asked if Jones will be ready when his time comes, coach Heupel explained that he expects even more than that from his freshman.

"That is a long wait," Heupel stated. "He had better be ready for the 2008 pace. He had better be ready for this year."

"That is the truth of the matter. He could go out there against Tennessee-Chattanooga and he had better be ready to play, and that is what we are pushing him to do. So we are not looking to far in the distance, we are just worrying about this year now."

Landry may have a high amount of expectations towards his potential with in the program, but Coach Heupel knows that he had better keep working if he is to realize that potential.

"The reason Sam (Bradford) had such a successful freshman campaign wasn't just the two-a-days preparation that he had leading up to that fall," Heupel reminisced.

"It was the way that he handled himself from the first day that he got here on campus. He pushed himself everyday to be the best player that he possibly can. If you do that, whenever your time comes, and who knows it might be tomorrow, it might be a year from now, it might be three years from now, but when it comes you are going to be as ready as much as you possibly can."

"Landry is doing those things," The coach continued. "He has got to have a sense of urgency about himself in his preparation and the way he works and competes out on the practice field.

"He needs to make sure he maintains that as we go through the fall."


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