Heupel's touch improves OU QBs
BY JOHN E. HOOVER World Sports Writer
Monday, August 09, 2010
8/09/10 at 5:55 AM
NORMAN - If any Landry Jones doubters remain, if anyone thinks Jones won't be markedly better in 2010 than he was in 2009, they need only remember one thing.
His coach is Josh Heupel.
"You have to really look at Josh," Bob Stoops said. "He's done an amazing job with these guys."
One day soon, OU's last national championship-winning QB will be hired away as an offensive coordinator. Not long after that, he likely will become a head coach. Whether Heupel can run a program or game plan and call plays is anyone's guess. But evidence of his acumen for coaching quarterbacks is indisputable.
Heupel turned Paul Thompson from a disgruntled wide receiver into a Big 12 championship winner. He turned Sam Bradford from an unheralded local recruit to a two-time Big 12 champ, the most prolific Sooner passer ever, a Heisman winner and a No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft.
And last year, he turned Jones from a wide-eyed redshirt freshman into a confident and prolific Sun Bowl winner.
"Credit his upbringing, his nature, the way God made him," offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said of Jones. "But also, strong credit to Josh. Josh goes one-on-one with him, looks him in the eyes and gives him a sense. Josh has really worked hard, without trying to make him become phony ... to maybe enhance his role as a leader. Not some win-one-for-the-Gipper speech, but to me, there's a way you look, a way you act, where everybody knows: 'This guy's got it.' "
Jones suffered dropped passes and unneeded pressure in the pocket last season, so his numbers could have been better if those around him had performed better. But Heupel doesn't talk to Jones about completion percentage or yards or touchdown passes.
"All he talks about is winning and losing," Jones said.
Jones said Heupel "brings a lot of mental toughness" into meetings. Sooner fans won't forget the mental toughness Heupel showed in overcoming a sore elbow at Oklahoma State, or the non-stop bone-crushing hits against Kansas State, or the soreness that lingered against Florida State on OU's title march a decade ago.
"You guys saw Josh as a player," Wilson said. "As a coach, that's a strong coach, now."
Vs. Utah State
6 p.m. Sept. 4
Radio: KMOD fm97.5, KTBZ am1430
Original Print Headline: Heupel's touch lifts OU QBs
John E. Hoover 581-8384
OU quarterbacks coach Josh Heupel (left) turned Landry Jones (right) from a wide-eyed redshirt freshman into a confident player. STEPHEN PINGRY / Tulsa World file