Oklahoma University quarterback Landry Jones threw for 4,463 yards and 29 touchdowns last season for the Sooners, yet he was still vilified by some for his team's disappointing season.
Of course, a 10-3 record isn't anything to shake a stick at, but in a program that has such a strong tradition of success and is considered college football royalty, a victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Insight Bowl is not enough.
At the 2012 Big 12 Media Day, Sooners head coach Bob Stoops made it known that he was not one of the many to blame his quarterback for the team's occasional struggles.
Stoops was asked what he wanted Jones to improve on this offseason and shared this response with the members of the press (via TulsaWorld.com):
I didn’t ask him to have to improve on anything. I asked about 10 guys around him (to improve). (Everybody said) Landry struggled. No he didn’t. The offense struggled. He had more dropped passes in the last three games maybe ... we couldn’t even keep track of how many. We didn’t run the football as effectively as we needed to at all. All of that goes together. And so to me it’s more of an issue of the offense and the offense around him than it is him.
Stoops was not just providing the obligatory statement to protect his player; he was speaking the truth.
Jones was one of the most solid quarterbacks in all of college football last season. He was great in wins—specifically against the then-No.11 Texas Longhorns and the then-No. 8 Kansas State Wildcats.
In the team's first loss of the season to the Texas Tech Red Raiders, Jones threw for 415 yards, five touchdowns and just one third-quarter interception that proved to be inconsequential. He did not lose that game for the then third-ranked Sooners—the defense did.
It's hard to blame Jones' for his team's loss to Robert Griffin III and the Baylor Bears. Griffin and company had something special going on last season, and Jones was unable to stop them. He threw a fourth-quarter pick in the game that led to a Baylor touchdown, but he also posted 447 yards and a completion percentage of 70.6.
The only game he was especially bad in was against the Oklahoma State Cowboys. To say that the Cowboys weren't firing on all cylinders when the two teams met would be absolutely wrong.
How many games will Oklahoma win next season?
Oklahoma's rushing game failed them in that contest. So did the rushing defense. Jones had struggles of his own, but not even a perfect game would have gotten his team a win.
Jones is going to have a tough time finding viable receiving options this upcoming season. Kenny Stills will be back, but Ryan Broyles, Jaz Reynolds, Trey Franks and Kameel Jackson won't be returning. Broyles is gone to the NFL, while the latter three were suspended indefinitely this offseason (via USA Today).
The Sooners might struggle a bit at the beginning of next season, but it won't be because of Jones, just like the struggles last season weren't.