Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

January 4, 2013

Cotton Bowl to be Landry Jones’ swan song

IRVING, Texas — There isn’t a person on earth with a better understanding of the thrills and chills of being Oklahoma’s quarterback than Landry Jones.

The fifth-year senior will make his 50th career start when the 12th-ranked Sooners face 10th-ranked Texas A&M in the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic at Cowboys Stadium. In an ironic twist, his college career will end where it began on Sept. 5, 2009. Jones’ wife, Whitney Hand, reminded him of that when the Sooners received the Cotton Bowl invite earlier this month.

“She said how interesting it was to see how I’ve come full circle here,” Jones said.

The circle is wider than most. Seasons as the Sooners’ quarterback can fly by in days or stretch on like decades, depending on the outcomes. Jones’ career has been like a roller coaster no engineer could possibly sign off on. The peaks have been high and the valleys have been low.

The peaks are easy to remember. Jones went 3-0 as the starter against Texas. With a victory Friday night, he’ll finish his career a perfect 3-0 in bowl games. This season, OU won its second Big 12 championship with him under center. Every completion on Friday will extend Jones’ records as the Big 12’s all-time passing leader.

Yet, Jones has never achieved the level of esteem among OU fans that Sam Bradford (2007-09), Jason White (2001-04) or Josh Heupel achieved (1999-2000). Jones never won the Heisman Trophy like Bradford in 2008 or White in 2003. The Sooners never reached the national championship game like Bradford (2008) or White (2003 and 2004). They certainly didn’t win one like Heupel did in 2000.

It’s far from a secret that Jones turned down a first-round grade a year ago to return for his senior season. The main reason was to do some of the things Bradford, White and Heupel did.

Didn’t happen. There’s a segment of OU’s fan base that will never let him forget it. Jones is OK with that.

“We both have extremely high standards,” Jones said. “For our fans, it is either national championship or we wait for next year to start playing again. That is the typical feel around here, but that’s OK. You would rather have that than say, ‘OK, if we win five games we are happy.’ Our fans are great and they have always supported us.”

But will they ever truly appreciate him? Only time will tell. Unfortunately, most don’t see the true value in something until it’s no longer around.

His teammates know what they’ve had at quarterback for the last four years and consider themselves lucky that Jones exhausted his eligibility at OU.

“He’s a guy that’s not a selfish football player and not a selfish guy,” center Gabe Ikard said. “He came back to help us go after a national championship. He came up a couple of games short. He had a great year and I think two games in a row he threw for 500 yards. It’s just when he has time, he can put it on the money anywhere on the field. In my opinion he’s had a great year. We’ve had a lot of guys go down and a lot of guys miss some time. For playing behind an offensive line that was all spatted up besides me, it was one of those things where he’s done a lot for this team.”

The prize is returning to the site that got Jones off on the wrong foot with OU fans. His first appearance was in relief of an injured Bradford in the 2009 season opener against BYU. Jones went 6 for 12, playing all of the second half in a 14-13 upset loss.

Most forgot the only experienced receiver OU had that season was Ryan Broyles. The offensive line was in the foundation phase of a rebuilding project. Offensively, the Sooners just weren’t very good that year.

Four years later, they have one of the most explosive offenses in college football. Jones is the biggest reason. Yet in quarterback billing he’s still second fiddle to Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. No one understands more than Jones how the Heisman Trophy changes perception.

The Sooners, however, know how important Jones has been the last four seasons.

“People outside of our building can’t appreciate what he brings to the building every single day,” said Heupel, who is now OU’s offensive coordinator and Jones’ position coach. “What he’s brings to the table with his approach, his mentality and focus in the my meeting room, I’ll even take it for granted sometimes. He has an ability to make adjustments to game plans on the fly because of the time on task and because he has such a great command of what we’re doing. He sees things very similar to what I do. He’s on my page and speaks my language. Those things don’t happen overnight.”

Jones’ career didn’t either. It’s been longer than any quarterback who has ever played at OU. There are great moments and ones all would like to forget. Longevity has that effect.

OU coach Bob Stoops won’t rank it. He just appreciates it.

“Landry has had a long and great journey,” he said. “It started here out of nowhere when Sam Bradford got hurt, and he genuinely could not wait for his opportunity to go out and play. Through the year he did a great job in tough circumstances with the other guys around him that were hurt. He has grown and developed through the years. A great worker, a great talent, and you look at the records and the championships; it has been special. He has been a great QB for us.”

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Keys-Dakota.jpg Playing both sides of the line

    Recently, Keys High School football standout Dakota Matlock was nearly severely injured in a terrifying car wreck.

    Matlock is coming off a stellar gridiron season for Keys High School. On offense, Matlock ran for over 1,000 yards for the Cougars. In his sophomore season, Matlock led Keys in tackles from the safety position.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bassmaster.jpg Crossing, and fishing, the Delaware

    Bassmaster Elite Series anglers to compete Aug. 7

    BASS has fished out of some legendary venues over the years (including Chicago, Detroit and New Orleans), but never Philadelphia, which is host of the Bassmaster Elite at Delaware River, Aug. 7-10, 2014.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mison.jpg Mixon’s attorney says incident with woman self-defense

    The attorney for Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon says the incident that left a 20-year-old female OU student with multiple facial fractures was a case of self-defense.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hooper.jpg Sparking the flame

    Sequoyah High School’s Justin Hooper looking to lead this year

    Last season was Justin’s last chance to play alongside Cody at Sequoyah High School.
    Justin had to battle to win the Indians starting tailback. The coaching staff did not know who was going to be the Indians starting running back coming into fall practice.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • NSU-fishing-team.jpg NSU teams compete in fishing tournament

    Three teams from Northeastern State University’s Bass Fishing Team competed in the Fishing League Worldwide College Fishing Tournament on Grand Lake in Grove on Saturday, June 21.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Johnson, East win easily at All-State

    Jake Johnson was able to hold off Lawton MacArthur’s Trent Meisel at the Class 5A state tournament in May. On Monday at the All-State tournament at Cherokee Hills Golf Club, Johnson had it much easier against Meisel.

    July 29, 2014

  • McMillan-blackboard.jpg Hometown brothers team up for RiverHawks football

    Northeastern State’s football program will include a pair of hometown brothers for the 2014 season.
    Mason McMillan returns for his sophomore season, and this year he will be reunited with his younger brother, Kourtland. The brothers graduated from Tahlequah High School – Mason in 2013, followed by Kourtland in 2014. At Tahlequah, Mason and Kourtland shared the gridiron for one season.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Yurcich ready for second season

    With the 2014 season on the brink, Mike Yurcich, Oklahoma State University football offensive coordinator, is ready for his second year at the helm after coaching a powerful offensive squad a year ago.

    July 28, 2014

  • James_Ethan-(12)-vs.#2CC63C.jpg Back on the line

    RiverHawks’ Ethan James returns to the line healthy and ready for 2014

    RiverHawks offensive lineman Ethan James will enter the 2014 season healthy – something the team, and James, were not in 2013.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Sooners shifting several positions

    Experience comes from encountering the same things in the same ways over and over again. Oklahoma’s Geneo Grissom and Julian Wilson have that at defensive end and nickleback in bunches.
    However, both will be seeing new things when practice begins. Grissom is moving to outside linebacker. Wilson will be getting a look at cornerback as his senior season begins

    July 25, 2014

Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Press Sports Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Stocks