OU's future QB must earn spot
BY JOHN E. HOOVER World Sports Writer
Monday, November 23, 2009
11/23/09 at 6:26 AM
Is Landry Jones Oklahoma's quarterback of the future?
Jones is a redshirt freshman. He's started eight of OU's 11 games this season, and finished two others. He's completed 58 percent of his passes, thrown for 2,556 yards and 23 touchdowns. Not bad. Not Sam Bradford or Jason White numbers, but — since those guys won Heisman Trophies and all — not bad.
But Jones has also thrown 13 interceptions. He was the quarterback on the field at the end of all five of OU's losses. He's been — there's no other way to put it — terrible away from home. He's been careless with the football, he's been inaccurate with long, intermediate and even very short throws, and he's been awful in clutch situations, failing to rally for fourth-quarter touchdowns in all four close losses.
After OU's 41-13 loss at Texas Tech on Saturday, Bob Stoops said the notion of taking Drew Allen out of redshirt was not happening.
Allen won't play in the bowl game — yes, OU still gets to go to a bowl — but if he were to get more work in December practices, it would speed up his development. But on Sunday, offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said OU's bowl practices won't exactly be open auditions between Jones and Allen.
If Allen was markedly better than Jones, he'd have played this year. He's not. Not yet. The trick with Jones is he's so good at home, but so bad elsewhere. How can he be benched after throwing for six TDs against Tulsa, or five TDs against Texas A&M?
Then there's incoming freshman Blake Bell. The Wichita (Kan.) Bishop Carroll stud won't arrive until next summer, so he won't be able to impress coaches or teammates during winter conditioning and spring practice. Bell is considered still raw but, at 6-foot-6, he's got a powerful arm and is an athletic runner. Still, it seems unlikely that Bell would be good enough to overtake Jones (or even Allen) during two-a-days next August.
Bell has put up two years of crazy stats against ordinary high school opponents. Carroll started this season 11-0 before running into the buzz-saw of five-time state champion Hutchinson and lost 42-21 on Friday night. Bell was 31-of-40 for 248 yards and ran for two TDs. His upside is tremendous.
Then again, Wilson said, Jones is "gonna have to earn it. There's no guarantees. You're gonna have to earn it with your work and how you play, and you're gonna have to earn it with your performance. And with that, you'll get the opportunity to play and you'll earn the respect of your players ... Just because you've done it in the past, there's no guarantees, for anyone."
John E. Hoover 581-8384
Landry Jones has thrown for 2,556 yards, 23 TDs and 13 interceptions. Stephen Pingry / Tulsa World