2010 Should Be a Different Chapter for Landry

Last year the Sooners faced adversity that few teams ever have to experience.

Injuries plagued OU from day one, with tight end Jermaine Gresham's season-ending knee injury.

But it got worse when Heisman quarterback Sam Bradford went down before Sooner Nation's eyes in the opener against BYU, and that set the stage for a troubling, yet unique situation.

The Sooners were left without two of the biggest pieces to an offense that was ridiculous the year before, and at that point it was up to a very inexperienced guy in backup quarterback Landry Jones to take the reigns and try to pull the pieces back together.

"You know, he was stuck in as tough [of] a position you could ever be thrown into," said OU head coach Bob Stoops.

There were times when he looked brilliant--he threw for six touchdowns against Tulsa and was 30-for-51 with three touchdowns (although he tossed a pick) against Stanford in the Sun Bowl, but there were also days when he looked miserable--he had five interceptions in a 10-3 loss at Nebraska.

But those are things that can be expected from a guy thrown into that situation.

"And then as the year went, even with some rough spots, he never got down on himself, never changed his demeanor, you know, and accepted the fact that, ‘Hey, I've got to go through some growing pains,'" Stoops said. "You know, not that he likes it, but he wasn't sitting there hanging his head if he made a mistake."

And that ultimately made it possible for him to learn from the mistakes he made and fight through them, gaining valuable experience for the 2010 campaign.

"Absolutely, going from last year like I said earlier not knowing that I was the starter and then getting thrown in there and becoming the starter and playing all last year, just getting all that game experience going into the spring, earning the starting job and working throughout the summer, I've gotten just so much better just seeing defenses and recognizing where I'm going to throw the ball before the play starts," Jones said. "So, that's a huge thing for a quarterback to just have that confidence."

That's why it will be different for him this time around.

"Coach [Josh] Heupel always talks about being prepared like you're the starter," Jones said. "And it's just so much different if you're not the starter and then getting thrown in, but now kind of take the starting job and have more confidence in becoming a leader and actually saying that this is my team. This is my offense."

Another reason Jones will likely have a better season aside from the simple fact of experience is the improved play around him.

"I truly believe-let's face it-I don't believe overall in some ways he was supported very well," Stoops said. "There were too many dropped balls, you know, protection at times, although we still didn't have a bunch of sacks if you look at us compared to everybody else in the league. We're at the top in fewest sacks. But just overall I didn't think we helped him as much with the great running game at times, so he needs supported as well as any quarterback does."

Expect that to change and Jones' command of the offense to be noticeably different as well in a positive way when the season opener rolls around in just less than a month.

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