|The oldest 23-year-old in college football.|
Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones has a total of 1,628 passing attempts in his college career. That's 436 more than the signal caller with the second-most career passes in the country heading into this season, Zac Dysert of Miami (OH).
He has started 37 career games, the most of any returning quarterback in college football this year. (USC's Matt Barkley is second with 35.)
The 'Stache has piloted the Sooners to 29 wins as a starter – again, the most in the country.
We could keep going with more stats, but you get the point: In college football years, OU's starting quarterback is a senior citizen.
It really doesn't seem like it was that long ago that Sam Bradford was slinging it around Owen Field, but 2012 will mark what essentially amounts to Jones' fourth season as the Sooners' full-time starting quarterback. He has the scars to prove it from suffering all the slings and arrows that come with being OU's field general for three years.
That kind of experience makes a slick talking point for ESPN's suits during summer's dog days, even though all the reps in the world won't help a dog of a quarterback. You wouldn't know it from listening to his detractors, but that's not Jones. Of course, we also know he's not Bradford, which would be an unfortunate burden for any college QB to carry.
While Jones has plenty of impressive achievements to his credit, the narrative on his career at OU is one defined by absence. Namely, the absence of sucking and the absence of transcendence.
Somewhere in the middle of that broad spectrum lies the truth about Jones. He has had his fair share of heinous performances to go along with the days where he can't miss. (Hell, you could say the same from throw to throw in any random game.)
Average them all out, though, and you'll get a quarterback who's far closer to the elite side of the scale than roadkill. Unfortunately for No. 12, implosions like the one he suffered in Stillwater a year ago stick out more in the public's consciousness than leading his team from behind to win a conference championship or tattooing the Texas secondary in the Red River Shootout.
There's another glaring absence in the 'Stache's career that doesn't sit well with OU's demanding fanbase: The Sooners haven't even sniffed the national championship game since he took over behind center. Factor in his spectacular stumbles, and you get the sense of skepticism percolating around the Crimson and Cream's title aspirations in 2012, even among Sooner Nation.
That kind of scrutiny might not seem fair to Jones, but that's life as the quarterback at Oklahoma. Plenty of college kids would crack under that pressure.
Hopefully, that's the advantage of having an old man in Jones' position.