COLUMN: Landry Jones must prove himself on road
Saturday evening the Sooners will play their first away game of the season in the crazed football state of Ohio. The state has a long history of bringing out the best in its high school, college and NFL teams.
Maybe it can do the same for Landry Jones.
Paul Brown brought the Cleveland Browns respect with three NFL championships.
Woody Hayes made Ohio State University a brand name across the country and produced the first two-time Heisman trophy winner: Archie Griffin. Hayes used to claim that the state of Ohio, not just the city of Columbus, was the single greatest home field advantage in college football.
More recently, the University of Cincinnati Bearcats have risen to BCS bowl prominence, proving that the Buckeyes are not the only college football program in the state capable of posting 10-plus win seasons.
In Ohio, homage is paid 365 days a year to football’s all-time greatest players at the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton. Many fledgling football players have drawn inspiration to pursue the game at its highest level from within those sacred walls.
It’s in this environment — rich with a legacy of football greatness — that Jones will have a chance to silence the naysayers by proving he can go into a hostile stadium and bring home a victory.
Jones is only in his first season as the full-time starting quarterback for the Crimson and Cream, but he did see significant time in that role during the Sooners’ 2009 regular season. However, he hasn’t been a key factor on the road. He wasn’t against the Hurricanes last October in Miami. In November, he wasn’t against Nebraska or Texas Tech in Lincoln or Lubbock.
He did, however, show that at a neutral site he can flat out sling the rock. Against Stanford University in the 2009 Sun Bowl, Jones went 30-of-51 for 418 yards and three touchdowns, out-dueling the Cardinal’s quarterback, Tavita Pritchard, who was 8-of-19 for 118 yards.
For the rest of the season, the Sooners are going to need Jones to do more than win Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year honors, be named to the All-Big 12 Freshman Team or break Sam Bradford’s freshman passing record.
If the Sooners intend to keep their record unblemished in the loss column, they are going to need Jones to win regular-season games on the road.
— RJ Young, journalism grad student