The Norman Transcript

Sports

September 10, 2009

In Sam Bradford's absence, Landry Jones takes the helm of the team

As Sam Bradford crashed to the turf Saturday night in Arlington, Texas, the complexion of Oklahoma's offense changed. The high-flying point-machine that raced through the 2008 season was going back to the hangar.

For a machine to run well, it needs a well-trained pilot. OU's goal now is to find out just how fast it can go with redshirt freshman Landry Jones in captain's chair.

OU's offensive coaches have been trying to figure that out over the past four days.

"Your game plan is always trying to put your quarterback in the best situation," quarterback coach Josh Heupel said. "There were things that Sam felt real good about Saturday night and there were probably things that Landry felt real comfortable with on Saturday night. So, when those guys are in the ballgame you focus your play calling to give those guys the best opportunity for success. So, we'll certainly do that this Saturday."

Jones will make his first start at 6 p.m. Saturday when the 13th-ranked Sooners (0-1) face Idaho State (0-1) at Owen Field.

To a man, players have expressed unwavering faith in Jones. They spoke about his take-charge demeanor in the second half against BYU. To them, the offense still has a leader.

"Landry's a good quarterback. I mean we have good quarterbacks who come to Oklahoma," wide receiver Brandon Caleb said. "He's been following Sam for a long time and Sam's a great player, so when he came in, he knew exactly what to do. But we're very confident in all our quarterbacks in the program."

The Sooners have to be. Until Bradford can return from his shoulder injury, Jones is the man.

Jones knows that too. In some ways he passed the first test against BYU. He was able to take over the offense and not panic in a pressure-packed situation. OU had problems, but most could be traced to the offensive line and receivers. The issues were present long before Bradford left the game.

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