John E. Hoover: This is not the senior season Landry Jones expected
BY JOHN E. HOOVER World Sports Columnist
Wednesday, October 03, 2012
10/03/12 at 4:54 AM
Go to John E. Hoover's blogOriginal Print Headline: Senior season not what Jones expected
Landry Jones is hurting right now.
You can see it when he plays.
He misses an open receiver on the goal line for an easy touchdown, and he unbuckles his chinstrap with an angry yank.
He gives up a touchdown by taking a sack and fumbling and he slaps his thigh pads and punches the grass.
These are open displays of emotion that Jones hasn't really shown before. Not even when he was young and didn't know better.
Not when he threw five interceptions at Nebraska as a redshirt freshman. Not when he floated a lazy screen pass right into the hands of a Missouri defensive end as a sophomore. Not when he threw the ball out of the end zone on fourth down at Baylor when he was a junior.
Jones came back to Oklahoma to have fun his senior year.
But it's not for a lack of trying.
"Everyone wants to make plays, everyone wants to throw ridiculous amounts of touchdowns and throw for a lot of yards," Jones said. "I think sometimes you get mixed up and we want to push it down the field a little bit more than you should. I think what this position is all about is taking what the defense gives you regardless of what down it is or how long you have to go to get another first down."
Jones knows he's in Sooner Nation's crosshairs. He knows he's not Sam Bradford. Knows he owns several OU interception records to go with every touchdown and yardage and completion record.
So what does he do?
"I think it's just the little things and the little plays here and there that I am not making that I need to make," Jones said.
Jones isn't just the NCAA's active career passing leader. He's a victory or two away from becoming the Sooners' all-time winningest quarterback. But, with nine defeats on his ledger as the starter, he also is perilously close to becoming the all-time losingest.
At Oklahoma, you don't get many opportunities to build on a record like that.
He will be under duress on Saturday at Texas Tech, and not just from the Red Raiders' No. 1-ranked defense.
Jones will be pushed by Tech QB Seth Doege, who was so brilliant in last season's 41-38 shocker in Norman.
Jones, a projected first-round pick and conductor of one of college football's most prolific offenses over the last three years, might once again be the second-best quarterback on the field when he walks in Lubbock's Jones Stadium for the last time.
So, what does he do?
"What you've got to be careful of," said OU coach Bob Stoops, "I think the worst thing a quarterback can do is press, is try to force the issue and try and get to where you're pressing as opposed to letting it come to you, go through your reads, take what's there. The old adage, take what they give you. And be smart about it. I think as much as anything, that's what we want them to do."
Great. Sounds easy enough. But Jones hasn't been the same quarterback since Ryan Broyles got hurt last year. He and his rebuilt receiving corps are still connecting the dots, although the college football season - one-third complete after Saturday - is moving along without them.
Post Broyles, Jones suffered through 171 consecutive passes without a touchdown last season before throwing one in the Insight Bowl. This season, he has five TD passes but also has three turnovers.
So - last time - what does he do?
"Just keep practicing," Stoops said. "Keep working your execution in practice, going through your reads. One, two, three, throw it to the guy that's open. They're working hard on it."
Landry Jones will be pushed Saturday by Texas Tech counterpart Seth Doege. MIKE SIMONS / Tulsa World