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Landry Jones Q&A
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Sooner QB talks about football, pressure and the 2011 season
On fall Saturdays, center stage at Owen Field is where the spotlight burns brightest and where 80,000-plus critics scrutinize even the most marginal of errors and the slightest hint of indecision.
Itís where one ill-advised pass can spell disaster and where a less-than-stellar day at the office can mean the difference between victory and defeat.
Welcome to Landry Jonesí world.
Every move he makes, every word he says is under a microscope.
Such is the life of an Oklahoma quarterback, especially one following in the footsteps of Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford, arguably the best QB in Sooner history.
While it took some getting used to, Jones has adapted to the role quite nicely. He looks more comfortable in his own skin, and if the improvement he made between his first season as a starter and last season is any indication of what is to come this fall, the junior from Artesia, N.M., could be right in the middle of the 2011 Heisman conversation.
Sooner Spectator caught up with Jones during spring workouts and asked him about various aspects of his football career, life and more.
Sooner Spectator: How do you view spring football as far as its significance to your progress?
Landry Jones: Itís definitely important for everyone on this team, including me. Itís a big part of our offseason program and critical to our overall development as a team. This is a time when we develop our toughness and when some guys get a chance to prove what they can do.
SS: After the success you had last season, what aspects of your game did you feel you needed to work on most this offseason, especially this spring?
Jones: Really, just work on eliminating some of the dumb plays I made at times. There were one or two plays each game that I could have eliminated that would have made a huge difference for us. A lot of that is decision-making, which is something I have focused on.
SS: Donít you think some of those mistakes will be eliminated simply on the strength of your experience and having been there before?
Jones: Absolutely. You learn from your mistakes, and you learn from your successes, too. Getting to play again last season and having the success we had at times definitely gives me a better idea of what to expect and how to handle certain situations.
SS: What did you see during the spring that really impressed you about this team?
Jones: Everybody really seemed to buy into the program and what we are trying to do here. Thatís huge. I also liked our focus and how willing everyone was to work on getting better where we need to get better.
SS: You get asked a lot about your faith and the role it plays in your life and football. Is that something you donít mind talking about?
Jones: Not at all. It plays a huge role in my life. Iím a son of God first, and everything else like football falls in behind that. Itís important to have your priorities straight, so my faith is No. 1 in my life.
SS: When the pressures of school and football are weighing on you, what do you do to relax and get away?
Jones: I like to watch movies. Iím a big movie buff. Whenever I have some extra time, I like to go check out the new movies, see what they are all about. I got the new Apple TV for the house, so we order a few movies off of that too.
SS: Being under the microscope comes with the territory of playing quarterback at OU. Is that something you get used to over time or how do you deal with it?
Jones: I think itís about your character. If you work hard and do things the right way, it all works out. Iím just trying to do the right things, be a good teammate and a good leader for this program. You canít worry about the rest of that stuff. Itís just part of the deal.
SS: Looking at the guys you have coming back and some of the new faces, are you excited about the receiving corps for 2011?
Jones: Iím definitely excited about those guys. They are going to be a big part of our offense, and there are a lot of guys in that group who can make plays. Thatís one of the things spring practice does is allow us to work together and build that relationship.
SS: Coach Stoops has talked about how the offensive line has continued to come together during the spring and show improvement. That has to be a good thing where you are concerned?
Jones: Thatís huge. The offensive line is such an important part of our success and especially where the quarterback is concerned. Thatís your livelihood right there. They determine whether you are stepping into your throws or throwing off the back foot, so how they play is critical.
SS: What sort of influence has Coach Heupel had on you over the last two seasons?
Jones: Itís been great working with Coach Heupel because he expects the best from you and is not going to let you accept anything less from yourself. I have a ton of respect for him. He knows the game and he knows how to play the position, so it only makes sense that I take in everything he has to say. Being around him every day has helped push me to another level.
SS: Your name already appears fairly prominently in the OU record book. What does that mean to you at this point?
Jones: Itís an honor to be in that kind of company. There have been a lot of great quarterbacks come through Oklahoma, and to have my name mentioned in the same breath with Sam Bradford, Coach Heupel and Jason White ó itís pretty special. But Iím not worried about records right now, just winning football games. If we do that, the rest will take care of itself.
SS: How big was the BCS win over UConn back in January, especially where confidence and momentum are concerned going forward?
Jones: It definitely sets a positive tone for the offseason, and you canít underestimate that. I think thatís huge for this team, to get a win like that in that situation was important.
SS: How much fun are you having right now?
Jones: Itís a blast. I wouldnít be here playing this game if it wasnít fun. Even though itís become more than a game in some ways for me ó itís a potential career option for me, as well. I realize there is more pressure to succeed when you see it in those terms, but football has always been a joy to me. Itís always been a passion of mine. I love the camaraderie of my teammates and competitive spirit. Itís great.
SS: How good can this team really be this fall?
Jones: We have the talent to do great things. We have all of the pieces to go to the national championship game, but it depends on how we put it all together and if we together. Instead of being a whole bunch of individual talents, we have to play as a unit and pursue our goals as one. If we do that, we can do some special things this season.
(Editor's Note: This interview appears in the 2011 Spring Football Issue of Sooner Spectator. To subscribe, call toll free 1-877-841-8877)