(Editor's note: With the 2012 regular season in the books, we'll be reviewing the performance of the different position groups for Oklahoma. We start with quarterback and a look at the play of Landry Jones and understudy Blake Bell.)
What did we think/hope would happen?
Landry Jones would start every game and Blake Bell would continue to provide short-yardage support. With a refreshed and restocked wide receiver corps, Jones would regain the form of 2010 and shake off his poor play at the end of 2011.
What did happen?
*Despite a slow start against UTEP and a bad game with three turnovers against Kansas State, the QB position hit its stride against Texas Tech and then Texas.
*Once Jalen Saunders was added, the WR corps clicked. Landry started throwing the ball as well as he ever did during the Ryan Broyles era. The Sooner offense struggled against Notre Dame, but Landry did not have a bad game.
*Although he threw one bad pick every game, Landry had an awesome November. He had back-to-back great games against West Virginia and Oklahoma State, leading OU to last second wins in regulation and overtime, respectively. Those clutch drives were pretty much elite college play at the highest level.
*Landry now owns almost every OU QB passing record and had a very good bounce-back season with a 3-to-1 ratio of touchdowns to interceptions and 4,000 passing yards. Even his passing efficiency was almost the same as 2010.
*As predicted, Bell got action with the BellDozer, but his reps running the real offense were non-existent after the Kansas game as OU was locked in four-quarter battles the rest of the year. Bell in limited action at QB looked good, though, showing a strong arm and good accuracy.
What went right?
*For most of their careers, both Sam Bradford and Landry Jones had great games when OU blew out opponents. This year, though, just like the 2010 Big 12 Championship Game versus Nebraska, Landry led OU to significant come from behind wins.
*The two-minute/four-minute offense during the second half of the year was just awesome. Often set up by good kick returns, Landry led OU to quick strikes that gave the Sooners momentum. Whether it was the two-play drive against Iowa State that stunned the clones or the
four-minute drive versus TCU that ended with a touchdown on 3rd-and-23, the 'Stache did a great job executing in that time window.
What went wrong?
*Jones' performance against KSU. Jones didn't take advantage of OU's team speed to attack KSU and commited two terrible turnovers. OU should have won that game.
*OU's use of the BellDozer was somewhat bipolar and confusing. It stalled drives on occasion and caused chaos at other times (KSU and OSU). Also, there were definite opportunities to extend the BellDozer to threaten defenses that went ignored.
Where do we go from here?
*Landry has one last showdown in the Cotton Bowl at the same place where his OU career started. After four long years and two Big 12 titles, the Landry Jones era will come to an end. No QB has had a more complex relationship with the Sooner fan base than Jones. What's the takeaway? In my opinion, it shows that four years is a really long time to start as a college QB and that QBs in year four are pretty much the same as they are in year three.
*it would be stunning if Blake Bell is not the starting QB for the Sooners when they break the huddle in August versus Louisiana-Monroe. If Heupel can fully integrate Bell's running ability into the Sooner offense next year, it could be an absolute mother to defend. Think Northern Illinois or K-State, but with a much better passing QB and better weapons around him.