The Norman Transcript

October 30, 2012

Standing by Jones

By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones threw for 356 yards against Notre Dame. He did’t have a touchdown pass and the one interception he was charged with hit receiver Jalen Saunders’ hands before Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o made a diving catch.

The fact Notre Dame linebacker Dan Fox easily could have been called for pass interference made it one of the game’s most controversial plays.

Stoops harshly defended Jones during his press conference on Monday. To him, anyone who doesn’t think Jones should be OU’s starting quarterback lacks football aptitude.

“People aren’t very intelligent about football. I’m not criticizing them, it’s not what they do,” Stoops said. “Landry had a great night the other night. Without Landry, we’re not in that game. People, whatever occupation they are, it’s just like me trying to do what they do. They’d probably scoff at that. Landry’s a great quarterback and had a heck of a night the other night. “

Jones also weighed in on the call.

“From where I was standing, I thought it was interference. But I’m not a referee. My job is not to be a referee. My job is to be a quarterback,” he said. “Yes, I did think it was interference. But that’s not the way they saw it. You just have to play through it.”

Williams and Johnson questionable: Running back Damien Williams and left tackle Lane Johnson are being held out of practice due to ankle injuries suffered in the Notre Dame game.

“We’ll see. When I know I’ll say something,” OU coach Bob Stoops said on Monday. “They’re gonna miss today’s practice. We’re hoping they’ll be back by Wednesday. I’ll update everybody on Wednesday where they’re at.”

Limping forward: If Johnson cannot play against Iowa State, he will be the third starter and fourth offensive lineman to miss a game due to injury. OU lost center Ben Habern and guard Tyler Evans to season-ending injuries in the preseason. Guard Nila Kasitati suffered a season-ending knee injury on Oct. 6 at Texas Tech.

“It’s part of the game. Injuries have always been part of football,” center Gabe Ikard said. “It seems like we’ve had a lot, especially on the offensive line, and it’s hindered us a little bit. You have to replace guys when they go down.”

What about Whaley?: Running back Dominique Whaley has not played in the last two games, but remains the Sooners’ second-leading rusher with 241 yards on 38 carries. Stoops said the lack of playing time was not due to an injury.

“He’s fine. He’s been doing well,” Stoops said of Whaley. “I think some of the reason we’ve gone more with Damien is the success he’s had. How well he’s played has been more the reason Damien has been on more.”

Jefferson a semifinalist: OU safety Tony Jefferson was named Monday one of 15 semifinalists for the 2012 Jim Thorpe Award, given to the top defensive back in college football on Monday. The three finalists for the award will be announced on Nov. 19.

The Chula Vista, Calif., native leads the Sooners with 59 tackles, including a team-high 36 solo stops.

Jefferson has registered double-digit tackles in four games this season, including a team-high 11 against Notre Dame and a career-best 14 against Kansas State.

Jefferson was a member of the 2012 Jim Thorpe Preseason Watch List released this past summer after garnering All-Big 12 honorable mention accolades in 2011. He was also named to the Bednarik, Camp and Nagurski Award watch lists.

Jefferson garnered Jim Thorpe Defensive Back of the Week honors on Oct. 17 after recording a team-high seven tackles and an interception in OU’s 63-21 win over Texas.

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