Last season, OU still couldn’t punch it in. That led to the Belldozer, marginalizing Jones in many eyes. The biggest problem was a defense that couldn’t stop Robert Griffin III or Brandon Weeden, but Jones retained a penchant for the stunning mistake and Bob Stoops offered no favors by defending him at every turn with dreaded votes of confidence like the coach who cried wolf.
So Jones took the heat.
This season, Jones really was awful against Kansas State. He took the heat again and deserved it. But he didn’t just take it so much as embrace it and wallow in it, live it and breathe it in a fresh and uncommon way.
He ran away from nothing.
It’s a cliché, that character is exposed amidst adversity. Also, it’s assumed adversity clears in the face of it.
Only it hasn’t worked that way for Jones. OU lost to Notre Dame. It struggled, even though its quarterback did not, against Baylor and West Virginia. Jones never has and never will fully escape his most unforgiving critics.
Still, he has offered a clinic in how to accept the bad tidings, from sportswriters, including this one, and naysayers, who may frequently have good points but tend to lose themselves and their credibility in their vehemence.
Earlier this week, Jones was asked how he’d like to be remembered.
“I hope they remember me as a guy who came here and wanted to play for God and wanted to affect his teammates and live for His glory here,” he said.
That won’t happen.
Even the holiest roller around here is more interested in Jones’ performance on the field than what’s in his heart, on it or off. But maybe there’s room to remember how he’s handled it all.