NORMAN, Okla. — A lot of players with draft aspirations opt to come back for another season. Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones has now done it twice.
He didn’t leave after throwing for 4,718 yards and 38 touchdowns (12 picks) after his redshirt sophomore season and he didn’t leave after falling down slightly — 4,463 yards, 29 touchdowns (15 picks) last season.
He stayed for many reasons.
He wants to win championships at OU. He wants to finish his run with the guys he arrived at OU with. Probably, he didn’t want to leave his then-fiance, now his wife, Whitney Hand, who has one more season of basketball to play at OU. They are the unchallenged first couple of Sooner athletics.
But it has not been all good for Jones in Norman.
There is a portion of the fan base that would have been happy to see him move on. He owns just about every passing record at OU, from single game to career, yet he has never been thought of as highly as the Heisman Trophy QBs who preceded him, Jason White and Sam Bradford, nor as the consummate leader of his offensive coordinator, Josh Heupel, the last quarterback to win a national championship at OU.
Also, for whatever reason, last season, the offense continually stalled near the goal line under Jones’ direction. As a result, the “Belldozer” package became a mid-season offensive package, making way for backup-quarterback Blake Bell — 6-6, 254 pounds — to finish the season with 176 yards on 46 carries, including an astounding 13 touchdowns that led the team.
Jones has been the good soldier, even as he admits he doesn’t look forward to coming out of the game.
“As a leader and a competitor, you want to be a guy that leads your team into the end zone,” he said. “So, yes, it is a little frustrating to come off the field … But, at the end of the day, we are out to win the game. That’s what the Sooners are for and that’s what we are trying to do.”
And win ever game.
And win championships.
The Sooners last won a Big 12 championship in Jones’ sophomore season, sending Nebraska out of the conference with a title-game loss. That season pushed expectations sky high. When Jones back back last year, OU was No. 1 in the preseason polls. Now, he’s back again and the Sooners are No. 4, and seemingly generously so.
Anything can happen. Jones can still get there.
He’s ready for a final “last ride” with the Sooners.