Those of you who wanted to see Landry Jones thrown into the fire are going to get your wish. As Jubanator already reported, Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops announced on Thursday that it would be #12 starting at quarterback Saturday night in Miami despite the recent return of the reigning Heisman winner to practice.
I'm on record saying that Sam Bradford was Oklahoma's best chance to win against Miami and if he was healthy should play. Obviously he isn't healthy and its time to move to Plan B so let me go ahead and go on record by saying that Landry Jones isn't a bad Plan B at all. Jones has a firm grasp on the offense and while his copy of the play book may not be as thick as Bradford's Virginia Tech proved last Saturday that you don't need a complicated offense to beat Miami. I call it, "The Tyrod Taylor Plan of Success."
Taylor guided the Hokies to a 31-7 win over Miami by completing 4 passes, that's right, FOUR!!! His 44.4% completion rate is well under Jones' 60.5 completion percentage. To Taylor's credit I don't see Landry Jones tucking the ball and running for 75 yards but the point is that it doesn't necessarily take a ton of passing yards to down the Canes. If the quarterback can get a few things from his supporting cast then he too can take advantage of The Tyrod Taylor Plan of Success.
Win The Battle Upfront
Virginia Tech's offensive line didn't give up a single sack against Miami. Of course when you only attempt 9 passes there aren't very many opportunities to bring the quarterback down. That said the offensive line also had to open holes for running backs and they did so for an average of 4.9 yards per carry.
Get A Strong Performance From The Running Backs
Despite a clear message to the Miami defense that they were going to run the ball until they were stopped the Hurricanes couldn't stop Virginia Tech. The Hokies ran the ball 55 times for 272 yards. Running back Ryan Williams was the workhorse who carried the ball 34 times for 150 yards and two touchdowns. Taylor added another 75 yards on 10 carries and at the end of the day Miami was pounded by the Hokies on the ground. When your ground game is working like that there's no need to pass the ball more than 9 times.
Protect The Football
Regardless of the final score last Saturday you still don't want to give Miami any extra opportunities to put their offense on the field. Virginia Tech did an excellent job at not turning the ball over and subsequently not surrendering field position and giving the Hurricanes extra opportunities to get on track.
Take Advantage Of Opportunities To Strike Through The Air
Miami's secondary has struggled heavily at times this season and if you're able to lull them to sleep by constantly pounding them with the run then there should be opportunities to go over the top. Tyrod Taylor did this very nicely last Saturday. After a heavy dose of running plays in the first quarter Taylor hit Jarrett Boykin for a 49 yard touchdown pass when the safeties began to cheat up. If Chris Brown and DeMarco Murray are successful on the ground Saturday night then Landry Jones is going to have those same type opportunities. He and the receivers must take advantage of those.
Get A Strong Defensive Performance
We saw, really for the first time this year, what happens when Jacory Harris is put under pressure for an entire game. The result wasn't pretty as the Hurricane offense managed just 209 yards and 7 points. Harris was sacked three times, fumbled once and threw an interception. When the Hurricanes tried to move the ball on the ground they were only able to muster 59 yards on 34 attempts. A defensive performance like that from Oklahoma would certainly be welcomed by Landry Jones.
The bottom line is that Oklahoma will win or lose tomorrow night as a team. This game is bigger than just one person and the weight of the team shouldn't rest on the shoulders of Landry Jones. As a team the Sooners are going to have to follow the game plan and shake off the woes that have plagued them away from Norman for the last several years. There's hope for this team in the absence of Sam Bradford and it's found in them playing together and taking advantage of where Miami's weaknesses have been exposed. If Tyrod Taylor can lead a team to victory over Miami then I like Landry Jones' chances.