Big 12 Media Days, like any other public relations-driven media "event", was pretty bland and predictable.
One thing, however, stuck out to me from all the quotes I read and interviews I watched or heard, and it came from the king of coach-speak, Bob Stoops himself.
“Everybody (said), ‘Oh, Landry struggled,'” Stoops said in Dallas on Monday. “No, he didn't — the offense struggled. You had more dropped passes in the last three games, I couldn't even keep track of them. Didn't run the football as effectively as we needed to at all."
Sounds like a bunch of excuses, to me.
Those who follow Oklahoma football don't need to be reminded of the stats, but here are some anyway. During the last four games of the 2011 season, Landry Jones didn't throw a single touchdown pass, and had six interceptions.
It's no surprise that the struggles coincided with the injury to last season's No. 1 receiver, Ryan Broyles.
To be fair, any quarterback in the nation would probably see a decline in statistical productivity after losing their primary target. But, as a quarterback who was widely considered a first-round draft pick and a Heisman contender, the kind of drop-off Jones had was unacceptable.
Although I defer to Stoops in terms of football knowledge, I have to respectfully disagree with the notion that Landry Jones didn't struggle last season.
That's not to say there isn't some validity to the point Stoops made. There were plenty of dropped passes during that four-game stretch, and the offense had become largely dependent on using Broyles much more than any other receiver, both in downfield plays and dump-offs and screens. Broyles was the proverbial safety net for Jones.
Problem is, there isn't a Ryan Broyles on the 2012 roster, either, and there has been turmoil in the offseason in the receiving corps.
Jaz Reynolds, Trey Franks and Kameel Jackson were suspended indefinitely this offseason, and it remains to be seen when or if those players will return.
Kenny Stills is a dynamic talent at receiver, and will be counted on to be the top guy. But he has a history of inconsistency, showing flashes of greatness in between stretches of apparent indifference and questionable focus and effort.
Trey Metoyer, the five-star recruit who attended prep school last year and had an impressive showing in the spring game, could be a big contributor, but you never know what you're going to get out of a freshman. He can't be expected to consistently carry the load, although he has the potential and talent to do so. Two other freshmen, Sterling Shepard and Durron Neal, may also be asked to be on the field often.
The running game probably won't be significantly better than it was last season. Much of the team's ground game will depend on how well last season's starter, Dominique Whaley, recovers from the ankle injury that ended his season early.
Landry Jones most definitely struggled last season, and if the Sooners want to win the Big 12 Conference, let alone compete for a national championship, he needs to get improve. And, despite whatever Stoops claims to have told him, I'm sure he has been working and will continue to work toward doing just that.