Sooners look to regroup after loss to K-State
Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones will take the blame for a loss to Kansas State. He says it won take the Sooners out of the national championship race.
Jones, speaking during coach Bob Stoops' weekly news conference Monday, acknowledged he'd have to play better for No. 16 Oklahoma to have a chance.
''Typically every year there's a team in that race that has one loss,'' Jones said. ''Last year it was Alabama. I can't recall who it was the year before, but it usually is people with one loss of people that get into that game and play really well. We're still in it. Our goals are still out in front of us. The season isn't over and we're getting back to work.''
Immediately after the Sooners fell 24-19 at home to then-No. 15 Kansas State on Saturday night, Jones said he'd played ''dumb football'' against the Wildcats. He fumbled while rolling out inside his own 5-yard line, giving Kansas State a defensive touchdown, and threw a momentum-killing interception on another drive. His backup, Blake Bell, also fumbled while running a specially designed running play for him inside the Kansas State 5.
The Sooners' offense entered the season with much hype - much of that due to Jones' status as a four-year starter - but has often sputtered, struggling to score against Oklahoma's two Bowl Subdivision opponents, Texas-El Paso and Kansas State. In those two games, the Sooners have averaged 406.5 yards and 21.5 points.
''You do scratch your head,'' Jones said. ''It drives me nuts that we're kind of underachieving right now. I feel like especially for myself, (I've) definitely been underachieving this whole year, but it's one of those things that we played a good team in Kansas State and we made mistakes that put us into a position that we couldn't win.''
Stoops didn't agree when asked whether Jones had regressed from 2010, when he rolled up big numbers in leading Oklahoma to wins over Nebraska in the Big 12 title game and Connecticut in the Fiesta Bowl.
''You're talking about a different team,'' Stoops said. ''That's two years ago with a lot of different parts. It's not the same team or the same guys around. That guy operates with 10 other guys. All 11 of them have to all be more precise in what we're doing. That's the difference.''
Jones theorized he might be trying too hard to make good things happen, but ''typically, that's how I like to play. You've got to fine that fine line of being overly aggressive but you also can't play scared. There's a really fine line between those two things that you really have to walk as a quarterback.''
Stoops seemed to agree with that assessment, saying Jones will see ''that maybe he's trying to make a little too much out of something'' when the quarterback watches film of the Kansas State game.
''The opportunity to throw it away at times is a good play instead or trying to force it,'' Stoops said. ''He'll see that. Landry gets that. It's a process working with some of the new pieces, but he has to make better decisions in some areas.''
Asked if replacing Jones as the starter with Bell was an option, Stoops curtly replied, ''No.'' And for what it's worth, Jones' teammates said they still have confidence in him.
''We win as a team and we lose as a team,'' fullback Trey Millard said. ''He had some mistakes. Everybody had mistakes - the offensive line, I did, across the board.''
Oklahoma's next game is Oct. 6 at Texas Tech. Jones said the Sooners need to change their practice habits during that time and become more focused ''with extremely little and small detail things like coach Stoops talks about, being precise, along those lines. . Moving our hand in the right place, getting our eyes to the right part of the field to make different reads - things along those lines.''
Stoops repeatedly emphasized the quality of Kansas State's program and said that for all their mistakes, the Sooners weren't far from winning. He took issue with critics who say Oklahoma's program has begun to lose some its luster.
''If you win the game, things are always different,'' Stoops said. ''In a place where you hardly ever lose and a place where you're used to winning so much, you're going to be criticized and they're going to be restless. That's the nature of a place like this and part of what we've built here. You just move forward and don't worry about them.''