We’re one-third through the season and, finally, age is on Oklahoma’s side.
From here on, when OU plays a regular-season game, Landry Jones will be the oldest quarterback to step on the field. At 23 years old, he’ll be older than Texas’ David Ash (20). Older than West Virginia’s Geno Smith (22).
Until this past Saturday, Jones had been the second-oldest. Texas Tech QB Seth Doege, who was ravaged by the Sooners in a 41-20 loss in Lubbock, is also 23. But he’s six months older than Jones.
So when Jones trots on to the Cotton Bowl turf Saturday, he’ll have three years on Ash, the Big 12’s youngest QB (born in 1992 when Sir Mix A-lot’s Baby Got Back was No. 1).
Will age mean anything? Maybe.
Against Texas Tech, Jones’ maturity seemed apparent, moreso than his manly man mustache. He played angry and played well. Of course, after his performance against Kansas State, he was bound to be better.
By no means am I an apologist for Jones. I’ve taken his name in vain many times.
But against Tech, I was impressed at how Jones responded to adversity and how his teammates rallied around him. Against Texas, he has a chance to be OU’s winningest quarterback. Steve Davis, who holds the record, also experienced poor games and boo birds. In his only loss, Davis threw four interceptions against Kansas. I remembering taking his name in vain, too.
Despite playing in different eras, Jones and Davis have similarities.
Both were redshirted as freshmen, which meant they spent five years in the OU program. Jones’ faith appears to be an important part of his life; Davis was an ordained minister at OU. Jones is married. Davis spent his senior season flying around the state to preach. Jones and Davis even became starters under trying circumstances — Jones when Sam Bradford was injured and Davis when projected starter Kerry Jackson was ruled ineligible.
Jones had to succeed one of OU’s most-popular players. Davis was one season removed from the afterglow of Jack Mildren’s wishbone success.
I still haven’t answered my question: Will maturity make a difference?
From what I saw Saturday, the answer is a resounding … maybe. Jones has 10 losses as an OU quarterback, so he has a lot of points of reference on how to improve his game. He’ll also want to upgrade his own stock because he’ll be playing to impress NFL scouts for the 2013 NFL Draft. Plus, Jones knows how to win: He led his high school team to two state championships in New Mexico. None of the starting QBs on the remainder of OU’s schedule have led their teams to a high school state title.
So, here’s hoping age means something.
MORE ON AGING: From oldest to youngest, here are the ages of opposing QBs on OU’s schedule (counting Landry Jones; FAMU’s Damien Fleming’s isn’t listed in media guides):
- Seth Doege, Texas Tech, Dec. 18, 1988
- Landry Jones, Oklahoma, April 4, 1989
- Nick Lamaison, UTEP, May 24, 1989
- Nick Florence, Baylor: June 21, 1989
- Collin Klein, Kansas State, Sept. 19, 1989
- Dayne Crist, Kansas: Oct. 9, 1989
- Geno Smith, West Virginia, Oct. 10, 1990
- Casey Pachall, TCU, Nov 14, 1990
- Jared Barnett, Iowa State, March 29, 1992
- Tommy Rees, Notre Dame, May 22, 1992
- J.W. Walsh, Oklahoma State, June 29, 1992
- David Ash, Texas: July 29, 1992
SPEAKING OF AGE: I’ve been making a big deal about age in recent blog posts. After the loss to K-State, I made the point that OU has been victimized by Old Man Ball. In the first three games, opposing coaches averaged 67 years old. Believe it or not, Texas’ Mack Brown skews it lower. He’s 61. (BTW, just to make you feel older: Landry Jones was eight months old in 1989 when Bill Snyder coached his first game at Kansas State).
ABOUT THE GAME: OU’s victory at Tortilla Tech played out like I expected. The pressure was off. OU players had chips on their shoulders. Coaches had a week to scout Tech. And it was a day game — finally. No doubt, the Sooners had time to watch Texas’ 48-45 loss to West Virginia, so that will come in handy. (Here’s hoping Landry Jones saw Geno Smith’s fumble in the end zone off a Texas sack. Looked just like Jones’ miscue against K-State. It happens to the best of them.)
TUBE REPORT: ABC Sports commentator Chris Spielman loves him some jargon and cliches. Here’s a few that I caught: “Tote the rock”, “bring the heat” (offered by the Tulsa World‘s Eric Bailey), “he’ll throw some blocks and get nasty”, “he’s gotta a big leg”, “getting a hat for a hat”, “closing the gate and fronting the ball”, “not putting a hat on him and the defender gets the TFL”. Stop me if you’ve heard this one: “If he’s even, you’re leaving. If you’re long, you’re never wrong.” He said that one after Landry Jones’ 13-yard TD pass to Kenny Stills.
TEXAS-BOUND: Two weeks ago, I watched Texas commit Kyle Hicks rush for 228 yards to lead Arlington Martin High past Arlington High. Hicks, a longtime UT fan, played QB and running back. He likes Mack Brown’s commitment to the running game and Major Applewhite is the coach behind Hicks’ signing. So, consider him locked up for UT.