NORMAN — Christmas presents were opened around the world this morning. In college football, there’s one stocking stuffer every team is trying to acquire: the mobile quarterback who can not only throw the football but run with it, too.
Oklahoma will face the best of the lot from the 2012 season when it meets Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl at Cowboys Stadium on Jan. 4 in Arlington, Texas. Aggie quarterback Johnny Manziel threw for 3,419 yards this year and ran for another 1,181. He won the Heisman Trophy, too.
“He’s phenomenal with the football, and he can create so many issues,” OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. “He can run you ragged. I’ve never seen anyone improvise and create like he can. Anytime you lead the Southeastern Conference in yards and points in your first year, what more do you really need to say about the guy?”
The same thing OU’s said about mobile quarterbacks all season: they’re a defensive nightmare.
Defenses are designed to do many things, but most are based on having more people around the ball than can be blocked. A running quarterback drops that advantage from two to one.
It’s something the Sooners haven’t utilized on an every-down basis. Quarterback Landry Jones, who makes his 50th and final career start next month, has never finished a season with positive rushing yards.
Jones, who rushed for negative 103 yards this season, joined Kansas quarterback Dayne Christ as the only Big 12 signal-callers to lead their teams in passing and not finish the season with positive rushing yards.
Historically, Jones and Christ are not unique. The last OU quarterback to finish a season with positive rushing yards was Sam Bradford, who rushed with 47 yards in 2008. He finished his career with 35 career rushing yards.
That could be the biggest change to OU’s offense heading into next season.