The Norman Transcript

May 7, 2013

Stoops responds to offensive criticisms

By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript

TULSA — Oklahoma had six players selected in the 2013 NFL Draft. However, after quarterback Landry Jones slipped to fourth round and safety Tony Jefferson wasn’t selected, the Sooner coaching staff seemed to be in the cross hairs.

OU coach Bob Stoops took exception to that Monday night at Oklahoma Caravan stop at the OU-Tulsa campus.

“I don’t have much of an opinion on their opinion,” he said when asked the criticism.

ESPN NFL analyst Trent Dilfer lit into OU’s offense after Jones was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 115th overall pick last Saturday.

“I went through all Landry Jones’ 2012 film and I just disregarded it. I do not hold him accountable for what happened last year,” Dilfer said. “The offense is a joke; it’s spitball. The receivers are brutal. The playcalling is brutal. They take him out in the red zone; they never let him get into a flow. My final grade on Landry Jones is go back to 2011, he’s a high-ceiling guy. I like a lot about him. I hate what they did with him in 2012 … The whole offense is built around getting flashy numbers and not scoring points.”

OU averaged 39.54 points a game (10th in the country) last season. Also, OU started using backup quarterback Blake Bell in short-yardage situations midway through the 2011 season.

“Admittedly, he didn’t watch him as a senior. Well, how many general managers don’t watch a quarterback as a senior? That doesn’t make much sense,” Stoops said. “In the end, the quality of our receivers was drastically improved from the year before. In fact, we had one of the better groups in the country from the year before. The offense was much different than it was in the year before. So, you guys are all more than capable of formulating your opinions, and agreeing or not agreeing with his comments on our offense.”

One of the main criticisms of Jones was his overall play did not improve from his sophomore year in 2010 through his last two seasons. It was one of the reasons he fell from a potential first-round pick after his junior season in 2011.

Jones hasn’t voiced public disapproval of OU’s offense — other than the Belldozer package — since the end of the 2012 season.

“Landry, we love him. I think he’s an incredible quarterback. I think he’s at a place that really fits him well. He’ll have a great opportunity, and hopefully it works out really well for him,” Stoops said.

As far as Jefferson falling out of the draft, the Sooner coach said it was a matter of seeking out the best advice before making the decision to leave school.

“Nothing surprises me in the draft. Guys who go early; guys who go late, because very few people really know,” Stoops said. “Because there’s only a certain handful of guys who are doing the drafting, who don’t let anyone know, regardless of what anybody wants to say, they never show their hand. So I was disappointed, of course, I want all my guys to be drafted as high as they can be. But, in the end, there’s always a lot of reasons why NFL teams do or don’t draft guys. Some of them are whether they play, how they test when they measure a guy — height, weight, speed, whatever. There’s always countless reasons that improve, or not, a guy. Again, nothing really surprises me.”

Stoops did say he was stunned Jefferson, who signed a free-agent contract with the Phoenix Cardinals last week, was not selected.

“I thought he would be. I didn’t feel it would be in the first day because of information I have,” he said. “I feel bad for him. I wish he was.”

As far as using Jefferson’s experience as a cautionary tale, it is. However, it’s just another to add to a growing list of players who left school early, but were drafted much lower than expected.

“In the end, we’ve had those teaching moments,” he said. “I’m very schooled on how it all works and what they make and who gets released in the first two-three years and who doesn’t. That’s been presented to our players at least twice a year. So I don’t need that teaching moment. I wish I didn’t have it.”