OU's Jones 'confident' about season
Sooners quarterback has put in extra work this summer to improve in final season
DALLAS -- For Landry Jones, the honeymoon is over. It's back to football. That shouldn't be difficult for Jones, whom teammates call the hardest worker on the roster.
"Anytime I drive by the locker room, his car is always there," center Ben Habern said. "He's always up there watching film and preparing."
Oklahoma's senior quarterback has made the most of his fifth offseason in Norman. During spring break, he flew to California to spend a week with quarterback guru George Whitfield. On his only other week off from team workouts, he met with Whitfield in Norman.
"I wanted to go out there and get a little extra work in when I couldn't work [in Norman]," Jones said. "This is my last go-round. There's more focus this year than there ever has been."
Oh, and on top of all that, Jones got married to OU women's basketball star Whitney Hand in Fort Worth earlier this month.
"I know he's doing all he can to have a big senior season," Bob Stoops said during Big 12 media days. "I think all quarterbacks at this age are making improvement if they're working hard. And Landry is like that, improving his footwork, always building your body, training to be stronger, a little quicker, get the ball out a little better.
"Landry works as hard as anybody we've had."
After three years as the Sooners' starting quarterback, Jones is primed to become the winningest quarterback in OU history. He's also within striking distance of several NCAA career-passing records. But West Virginia's Geno Smith -- not Jones -- was named the preseason All-Big 12 quarterback.
After losing leading rusher Dominique Whaley, then leading receiver Ryan Broyles to injuries, Jones and the OU offense sputtered down the stretch last season. The implementation of the Belldozer package chipped away at Jones' stats as well.
The late-season swoon left some in Sooner Nation with a sour taste about their quarterback. Unfairly, Stoops reiterated Monday.
"I didn't ask Landry to improve on anything," Stoops said. "The 10 guys around him, they needed to improve.
"People said, 'Landry struggled.' No, he didn't. The offense struggled. He had more dropped passes in the last three games maybe -- we couldn't even keep track of how many. We didn't run the football as effectively as we needed to at all. All of that goes together."
Jones, however, wasted no time this offseason looking to improve. He studied his footwork and playmaking opportunities outside the pocket with Whitfield. On his own, he took freshmen receivers Trey Metoyer and Sterling Shepard to the field to get extra passes in. Then in the evenings, he was locked in the film room. All while planning a wedding.
"I think his confidence is at an all-time high," said Habern, Jones' center the past three seasons. "During the offseason, he took every advantage he could to improve his game."
After such a productive offseason, the most experienced quarterback in college football admitted he feels "extremely confident" in himself going into fall camp. He has teammates such as Habern feeling the same about him.
"To know that he have that in a quarterback, a quarterback that cares that much for us and wants to compete and win a Big 12 title and national title that much," Habern said. "That's incredibly encouraging."