Oklahoma Football: 5 Reasons the Sooners Won't Miss Landry Jones
Oklahoma football fans will tell you many things about Landry Jones.
Some will say the accomplished quarterback will go down as one of OU's all-time greats. Others will say he crumbled in big games and was too inconsistent.
Regardless of what you think about him, give Jones credit for what he accomplished at Oklahoma. In four seasons, he won 40 games and threw for a Big 12-record 16,646 passing yards and 123 touchdowns. More importantly, he won two Big 12 championships and went 3-1 in bowls.
These accolades are not to be taken lightly. Still, there were multiple flaws in Landry Jones' game that limited his success as a Sooner.
These flaws don't mean Jones wasn't a great quarterback. But they do represent reasons Sooner fans shouldn't be disappointed about Jones' departure from Norman.
This also doesn't mean Blake Bell (or whoever succeeds Jones) will be a better quarterback than his predecessor.
Whatever the case, it's worth examining these weaknesses. Here are five reasons the Sooners won't miss Landry Jones.
He Wasn't Mobile
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One thing we know for sure about Landry Jones is he's not a runner.
In fact, the longest rush of his OU career was 18 yards.
This is not necessarily a knock on Jones' ability. What makes it relevant, though, is the fact that Jones' heir apparent, Blake Bell, is a dual-threat athlete.
Bell has tallied 24 rushing touchdowns the last two seasons in the potent "Belldozer" package. Ironically, the looming question about Bell is whether he can be a competent passer.
Ultimately, Bell has big shoes to fill. But his ability to escape the pocket and generate plays with his legs will add dimension to the Sooner offense. His size (6'6", 254 pounds) and agility make him a formidable threat.
It will be interesting to see if the Sooners switch to more of a spread offense to take advantage of Bell's talent.
He Panicked Under Pressure
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First off, it's important to give Landry Jones credit for leading the Sooners to several big wins.
Jones was dazzling in the fourth quarter against Oklahoma State (2010), Florida State (2011) and West Virginia (2012), to name a few contests. The quarterback put up astonishing numbers and calmly led OU to wins in hostile environments.
Throughout his career, however, Jones showed a tendency of panicking under pressure. He showed defensive coordinators that when you blitz him, he breaks down.
A key quality of high-end quarterbacks is poise under pressure. When Jones had the heat in his face, there was a good chance of bad things happening.
Instead of calmly (and quickly) throwing the ball away, Jones often times would show an alarming carelessness and ineptitude in taking care of the football. This would too often lead to sacks, fumbles or interceptions.
It remains to be seen if Blake Bell is a more poised player than Jones. But it's at least a little relieving to know we're done seeing college defenses take advantage of this weakness in Jones' game.
He Was Prone to Turnovers
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This point is closely related to Jones' tendency to panic under pressure. Jones threw 52 interceptions in his 53 games as a Sooner. He also fumbled the ball several times.
These numbers alone don't doom Jones. But his tendency to turn the ball over had dramatic impacts on his team's chance to win on several occasions.
Perhaps the most glaring example is the 2012 Kansas State game. Jones' fumble early in the second quarter and late interception were integral in the Wildcats' 24-19 victory. If not for these mistakes, the Sooners most likely would have won the game.
Another example is the 2009 Nebraska game. Jones threw five interceptions, and the Sooners ultimately lost 10-3. All the picks were very costly; two came at least relatively deep in OU territory. The final turnover came with less than a minute remaining at the Nebraska 6-yard line.
Of course, these are the most extreme examples of Jones' turnovers costing the Sooners. But, apart from winning and losing, he threw a good amount of interceptions. He also fumbled the ball multiple times at key junctures (Oklahoma State in 2011, for example).
He Was Occasionally Inaccurate
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This may sound a little picky, but Jones was occasionally erratic in the passing game.
Without a doubt, he has a powerful arm and is capable of throwing the ball with great accuracy. At times, however, the latter was lacking.
This wasn't a consistently noticeable problem. Jones was usually accurate enough. And often times when he wasn't very accurate, his talented receivers (Ryan Broyles, Kenny Stills, Jalen Saunders, etc.) would bail him out by making great catches.
Again, we don't know that Blake Bell will be a more accurate passer than Jones. But, at the very least, accuracy was a facet of Jones' game that wasn't without flaws.
He Sometimes Lacked Fire
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Lastly, it seems like Jones lacked then necessary fire or motivation at times.
A quarterback is expected to be a natural leader and a motivator. There were definitely examples of Jones leading by example and guiding his team to big wins, as mentioned earlier.
But there were also games where he looked flat. An example is the 2013 Cotton Bowl loss to Texas A&M.
In Jones' final game as a Sooner, OU failed to score a point in the second half. The Oklahoma offense generated a mere 118 yards in the final 30 minutes.
Sure, the loss was a team effort. But where was the spark or intensity from Jones? He didn't look like a fiery competitor in the second half; he looked defeated.
The 2012 Notre Dame loss is also relevant. Give plenty of credit to the Notre Dame defense for holding the Sooners to 13 points and only one touchdown (not accounting for the phantom penalty negating a touchdown before halftime).
Still, Jones' performance was a little disappointing. His statistics may not indicate a poor game (356 yards with one interception), but he didn't look very inspired. It would've been nice to see a little more intensity from the senior in a marquee game against a high-caliber opponent.