Two weeks ago he was a draft prospect wondering when his name would get called. A few days after that, he was throwing passes with Tomlin while offensive coordinator Todd Haley was looking over his shoulder trying to get a better handle on what they’ve got on their hands.
“It’s definitely surreal,” Jones said.
And certainly a change in responsibility for a guy who spent the last four years as the entrenched starter at one of the nation’s premier programs.
Jones passed for 16,646 yards and 123 touchdowns while starting 50 of 52 games for the Sooners. He’d been Oklahoma’s unquestioned leader since Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford left the 2009 season-opener against BYU with a busted shoulder.
Now he’s just the guy behind the guy, behind the guy.
“It’s just different,” Jones said. “You’ve been in these situations before so it’s not like too too different for me. Obviously you want to come out here and compete.”
Though there will certainly be no competition for the starting job anytime soon. Jones spent his first weekend as a pro working out with 40 other rookies and first-year players during a minicamp for newcomers. Despite having the playbook in his hands for a day or two Jones handled himself well despite the new voices in his ear. On nearly every play a member of the Pittsburgh offensive staff — typically Haley — would give Jones suggestions on where to go with the ball.
That didn’t happen too much during his final days with the Sooners.
“You’re just trying to remember the plays, remember where people are going,” he said. “You have a lot of information thrown at you.”
It’s going to get only worse. Jones estimated the notebook given to him by Haley is about the size of the one he worked with at Oklahoma. The difference? The notebook in Pittsburgh will get bigger over the next eight months.