For the first time in his tenure at Oklahoma, coach Bob Stoops is welcoming back a quarterback entering his fourth straight season as a starter.
What kind of advantage does having somebody with Landry Jones’ experience quarterbacking the Sooners as they begin spring drills this week?
"I believe it's a great advantage,” Stoops said during a press conference to kick off spring practice Monday. “The leadership, the poise, being able to hopefully avoid the really poor plays that put you in bad position with turnovers. And then hopefully there’s increased precision and execution. That’s what you really get with a more mature and experience quarterback.”
Jones struggled some late last season after losing top target Ryan Broyles to a knee injury. But by coming back for his senior season, he also has a chance to become the winningest quarterback in OU history.
"He makes a great impact,” Stoops said. “He's a tremendous leader and a very talented quarterback in everything he does -- not just throwing the football. With another year under his belt and time to work here in the spring and summer with these receivers, I'm excited about the possibilities.”
Other news and notes from Stoops’ press conference:
• On his first day at practice as defensive coordinator, Mike Stoops will be without three key starters. Defensive tackle Casey Walker (shoulder), safety Aaron Colvin (shoulder) and middle linebacker Tom Wort (back) will sit out the spring recovering from injuries sustained last season. Wort could still return late in spring drills.
• Two players that were expected to miss spring will actually be available. Wideout Jaz Reynolds (kidney) and fullback Aaron Ripkowski (back), who both suffered serious injuries in the loss at Oklahoma State, have both been cleared for spring drills.
“Jaz has been cleared for probably the last three weeks and has really gotten back to full strength and looks good,” Stoops said. “He’s cleared to go. And in all likelihood, we’re set to have a procedure at the end of spring that will sideline him just for probably three weeks.”
• Stoops said that Lane Johnson, who started at right tackle last season, will start the spring at left tackle as the Sooners work to replace Donald Stephenson. Sophomores Daryl Williams and Tyrus Thompson will man the right side.
Stoops also noted that mammoth redshirt freshman Derek Farniok has made strides during the winter and has a chance to become part of the rotation.
“Derek Farniok, a young guy, had a huge winter,” Stoops said. “He's a totally different guy than the guy that walked in here. It's exiting to see how hard he's worked, how well he's running. He's the biggest of all of them. The other guys are all doing well.”
• Stoops confirmed that Florida State tried to schedule Oklahoma for a third straight season, with both programs needing to fill holes because of conference realignment. But Stoops said FSU wanted the Sooners to come back to Talahassee for a second straight year.
“I know it was brought up about Florida State, but they didn’t seem to want to come here,” Stoops said. “We might have entertained it if they wanted to come here first game.”