Blog Entry

Stoops' "gut feeling" changing on Landry Jones?

Posted on: December 27, 2011 11:42 am
Oklahoma Sooners head coach verbalized to the media earlier in the week what many in the scouting community have been whispering behind closed doors -- that junior quarterback Landry Jones was likely to bypass the NFL and return for his senior season.

According to Dave Sittler of the Tulsa World, Stoops told him via a telephone interview that his "gut feeling" was that Jones would return in 2012.

"My gut feeling is that he'll stay," Stoops was quoted as saying in a Christmas Eve story. Later, when asked by Sittler if Matt Barkley's decision to return for his senior season might influence Jones' thought process, Stoops reportedly said, "I don't think that will matter. Landry's not sitting there basing his decision off what (other QBs) decide."

Stoops sounded like a man who got a peek at the presents under the tree and thought he'd seen his top choice. A few days later, however, and Stoops doesn't sound nearly as sure.

“What I feel doesn't matter,” Stoops is quoted by Travis Haney of the Daily Oklahoman following practice Monday evening “It's what [Jones] thinks about it, and right now he is far from making that decision.

“So, right now he's absolutely uncertain what he's going to do. He has plenty of time after the game to analyze it more.”

Stoops went so far as to question the source of the earlier Tulsa World report.

"I don't know where that came from," Stoops said when asked about the Sittler's story.

Whether Stoops is now simply exercising caution or has had a conversation with his quarterback that has forced him to take back his words is something that obviously only the head coach knows.

It would be easy to understand why Jones would come out early for the draft. At 6-4, 230 pounds and possessing a rocket for a right arm he certainly has the critical physical skills required to earn a first round pick. Having played in 38 games over the past three seasons, his statistics are impressive. Jones has passed for 12,218 yards and has a career touchdown to interception ratio of 92-40. He's broken virtually every game, season and career passing record at Oklahoma and, of course, potentially has another season to go to further distance himself from the top Sooner quarterbacks of the past.

Jones, however, has been plagued by inconsistent accuracy throughout his career especially when forced to move his feet. Considering that he's rarely pressured due to Oklahoma's reliance on the spread offense and the talent blocking up front for him, Jones' relative lack of composure in a muddied pocket is drawing red flags from scouts. So too is the fact that Jones hasn't thrown a touchdown pass since his star receiver Ryan Broyles went down with a season-ending knee injury November 5. Though he has the upcoming Insight Bowl against Iowa Friday to erase some bad memories, some have suggested that Jones wouldn't want to leave Oklahoma after having a poor showing against rival Oklahoma State in his final regular season game wearing a Sooner uniform. In that contest Jones completed just 27 of his 50 passes for 250 yards for zero scores and two interceptions. He also fumbled twice, one of which was returned for a Cowboys' touchdown. 

Jones is currently graded as a first round value by behind Stanford's Andrew Luck and Baylor's Robert Griffin III. He is not among my top 32 prospects for the 2012 draft, however, and I rank Texas A&M senior quarterback Ryan Tannehill ahead of him along with Luck and Griffin. 
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