Oklahoma's Landry Jones has a decision to make after the season. Will he jump to the NFL or come back to OU for his senior season? The SoonerNation staff makes predictions on the Sooners' quarterback situation for 2012. What do you think? Leave your comments below.
It all depends on whether Landry Jones returns for his senior season.
If he does, he will be OU’s starting quarterback — period. Yes, Jones struggled in Bedlam. But he also has won a lot of games for the Sooners, and one poor performance in Stillwater is not going to cost him his job.
But if Jones enters the draft? The Sooners will have quite the quarterback derby on hand in the spring.
Thanks to the midseason implementation of the Belldozer package, Blake Bell got a ton of experience on the field, an invaluable asset to a quarterback. Bell also showed he’s a special runner with the ball, drawing comparisons to Kansas State battering ram quarterback Collin Klein.
But Bob Stoops has already said the Sooners won’t be revamping their offense, meaning Bell will have to show he can throw the ball, too. Bell has a big-time arm. But so far, Drew Allen has proven to be the more adept passer. Bell would have the edge going into the spring because of the experience. But don’t automatically count Allen out, yet.
That said, my best guess is Jones opts to return for his senior season –- in large part to be with OU women’s basketball guard Whitney Hand during their first year of marriage –- and breaks Steve Davis’ record for wins by an OU quarterback.
- Jake Trotter
Jones will decide to return for his senior season. The junior can’t be happy with his play after go-to receiver Ryan Broyles was injured and could be looking to prove himself to NFL scouts by playing a full season without the Sooners’ all-time leading receiver.
Jones struggled without Broyles as his safety net and NFL scouts undoubtedly noticed. Add to that the strong play of fellow NFL quarterback prospects Matt Barkley of USC and Robert Griffin III of Baylor and Jones could find himself as the No. 4 quarterback prospect this year behind Barkley, Griffin and Stanford’s Andrew Luck.
Jones remains a potential first-round NFL draft pick but he still has plenty to prove to NFL scouts and could cement himself in the top ten with a strong senior season at OU.
- Brandon Chatmon
If Jones stays, he'll start. If he goes, Bell. But if the offense struggles early in 2012 with Jones at quarterback, got a feeling the Belldozer is here to stay.
There are subtle signs that OU, though not ditching the pass-happy offense that made it such a top destination for big-time recruits, will at least look for more balance in 2012. The commitment of tight end Brannon Green (Altamont, Kan./Fort Scott CC) is a great sign for those that love the rushing attack. At 6-foot-4 and 268 pounds, he’s a bruiser.
And if you want a more physical presence at quarterback, then Bell is certainly the answer. This offseason will be vital for Jones, if he stays, to develop that type of chemistry he had with Ryan Broyles. Whether it turns out to be with Jaz Reynolds, Kenny Stills, Kameel Jackson or any of the talented playmakers coming in, Jones has to get back on the same page with the receiving group.
Sounds strange to say, but Jones, a legit NFL quarterback prospect, might have to accept taking a backseat to Bell if the offensive chemistry isn’t there early.
- Bob Przybylo
I'll go out on a limb and say Jones declares for the draft after the Insight Bowl. Why not? If he has, indeed, dropped to the fourth quarterback prospect in the 2012 draft, couldn't he still go in the first round? Cam Newton, Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder all went in the top 12 picks in 2011.
So if that's the case, I don't think there's any question that Bell is the overwhelming favorite to start for the Sooners in 2012, ahead of Allen, redshirt freshman Kendal Thompson and freshman Trevor Knight. The question now, in my opinion, is how do the Sooners mold their offense around the BellDozer?
Bell's mobility is intriguing, but his passing has to be considered suspect at best, based on his four attempts (one completion, one brutal red zone interception) this season. It's still an unknown how he'll develop as a dropback passer. Could Oklahoma change up their offense completely and ditch the no-huddle in 2012?
- Dane Beavers