Jones: 'My Goal's Not to Be Sam Bradford'

Last season, redshirt sophomore Landry Jones was expected to be able to operate the offense while former OU quarterback Sam Bradford walked the sidelines with his arm in a sling. Jones did so, but with a few growing pains.

Now, with a season under his belt and a few more pounds and muscles on his frame, Jones is expected to play at the same level as the latest No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft.

One problem, Jones isn't quite Bradford, that first overall pick.

"In all fairness to Landry, we love where he's at," said OU head coach Bob Stoops. "We love everything he's doing, his attitude. He's got skill. He's smart. He works hard, and he's going to be a great player, but to compare him to the number one pick in the draft and a guy that's set records and, you know, it's just not fair."

Jones knows it.

"That's not my goal; my goal's not to be Sam Bradford," said Jones, who threw for 3,198 yards and 26 touchdowns in 2009. "Yes, he is a great player, and does he do some stuff really good – yeah, absolutely – but that's not who I'm trying to be right now."

It's really just simply how Stoops put it, an unrealistic comparison.

Even though the two have some similarities when they entered their respective redshirt sophomore seasons, such as being name team captains, Bradford was more accomplished and had a more solid supporting cast. Still, while Jones will try to accomplish similar things on the field in terms of championships, he's looking to create his own identity and completely shake off the label of being the quarterback following Bradford.

"I'm trying to be Landry Jones and the best player I can be," Jones said. "So, I'm really just trying to work on myself and improve in the areas I need to improve."

The biggest thing Jones needs to improve on is taking care of the ball and eliminating the turnovers, he said. Jones threw 14 interceptions, including five against Nebraska and two in the fourth quarter against Texas, last season, and he spent the spring and summer bettering himself in that area.

The simple fact Jones recognizes he cannot and does not want to be the next Bradford shows he has improved in his maturity, and the coaching staff has noticed that subtle difference.

"The uniqueness that Sam had as a young guy going back – I remember it was the first couple games talking with you guys about him – was his ability to play within himself and just be him," offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said. "I think what Landry's trying to say is ‘I'm just trying to be me and make the throws I can make and communicate the way I communicate.'"

But, Landry can't find his true on-field identity without some help from his teammates, Wilson said.

"If we support him properly, he has as a chance to have a great year," he said.

And if he has that great year, it could be a very solid one for the Sooners.

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