All of Sooner Nation breathed a sigh of relief yesterday when quarterback Landry Jones announced he would return to Norman for his senior year.
The all-time leading passer in Oklahoma history had said in past weeks he would wait until closer to the Jan. 15 deadline to announce his intentions, but the decision seemed easier than it was expected to be.
“I want to accomplish the goals that I set before I got here, and there is still a lot more to do,” Jones said in a statement. “I want to make sure I’ve exhausted every effort in that area. And I want to be a senior. I enjoy being at OU and with my teammates and look forward to graduating with the guys that were in my class when I got here.”
With Jones returning, the offense will return eight starters in 2012 and will also bring in several highly touted recruits on that side of the ball. One of the nation’s top recruits, wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham has still not made a verbal commitment to a school and OU is one of his top choices, so the offense has potential to be even better by the time next season rolls around.
Yet, for some reason, some OU fans still groan, moan and complain as long as No. 12 is lining up behind center for the Sooners. It’s absolutely incredible how many people still are not sold that Landry Jones is a good quarterback. The numbers don’t lie.
Jones is OU’s all-time leading passer with 12,389 yards in his career and also holds the OU record with 93 touchdown passes. Overall, Jones holds 21 Oklahoma records and a 30-8 record as a starter, including a 3-0 record in bowl games.
Unfortunately for Jones, Oklahoma is the home of incredibly high expectations, where, unless you win a national championship, the things you didn’t do are more scrutinized than your good moments are lauded and remembered.
Jones has been behind the 8-ball since his freshman season. When he was thrust into the starting lineup as a redshirt freshman when Sam Bradford went down with an injury, he performed like any freshman would in that situation: inconsistently. He had his good games, highlighted by a school record six touchdowns against Tulsa, and he had his low points, the lowest of which came in Lincoln with a five interception against Nebraska.
It seems as if OU fans never forgave him for some of those horrid performances, even though they were in the past and even though Jones has improved drastically since that time.
Very few fan bases are as spoiled as Oklahoma’s. Any team in the country would love to have a quarterback as talented as Jones on their roster, yet when the senior-to-be announced his intentions of returning, many fans groaned.
Yes, it’s true Jones is not the best quarterback ever to walk the face of the earth, but to think that an inexperienced, unproven quarterback such as Blake Bell behind center for OU in 2012 would be a better option is pure foolishness.
Sure, Bell is an athlete, but he and Drew Allen have a combined 34 pass attempts between the two of them. That’s not a formula for winning. A three-year starter that holds or will hold virtually every school passing record? Now that’s a way to win.
People can come up with all sorts or reasons why Jones isn’t a good quarterback and they may be right on some of them. Jones does struggle from time to time, but to say that he fails to show up for big games, or that the losses over the past three years are all his fault is just plain baloney.
Football is a team sport. No one player loses a game for his team, or at least, not consistently. Every now and then, like Jones’ performance against Nebraska, it could be argued that one player lost his team the game. However, it that game, Tress Way missed three field goals. If Way makes all of them, OU could have won 12-10.
OU is much better off with Landry Jones as its quarterback than it is without him. There is no question about that. Is there room for improvement for Jones? Absolutely. There always is room for improvement no matter what you do.
Maybe Jones can improve enough to satisfy those that didn’t want him back. If he can’t, well, then I’m glad I don’t have to live up to their standards, because I certainly wouldn’t be able to.