Let me start with a caveat. I was not watching the OU - Texas A&M game. I'm sure I would be a lot more agitated if I had been. However, I think that Sooner fans need to collectively take a step back and consider the larger situation.
As I'm sure our regular readers know, I am one of Kevin Wilson's staunchest critics. I believe that we were absolutely blessed with extraordinary talent on the offensive side of the football in 2008, and that went a long way towards putting up the gaudy stats. He seems to particularly fail in goal line situations, which I understand was a major problem last night. I also think back to the National Championship Game in 2008 and recall that the difference in the game was two goal line stands by Florida's defense.
With that being said, I think it's time to appreciate what we've got. Since 2006 when our current coaching staff took hold (more or less), Oklahoma has amassed 49 wins and a winning percentage of a 0.766. This is actually better than the complete historical winning percentage of the program, a very respectable 0.720.
And let's remember that the overwhelming reaction after the Missouri loss was, "This is a young team, particularly on defense. They have some exciting freshman playmakers. We are a year or two away from being dominant." What has changed since then? Very little.
So my plea is this, please let's not make outrageous statements and condemn certain players. I would not be disappointed if the Sooners parted ways with Kevin Wilson, especially after Landry attempted 59 passes last night. 59 passes to only 32 carries by the running backs is exactly the formula that we used in the Missouri loss (surprise, surprise). However, criticizing Kevin Wilson is different from criticizing players.
I was a vocal critic of some of our basketball players last season (notably Tiny Gallon and Tommy Mason-Griffin) after they showed very little effort or desire. But players like Landry Jones are, by all accounts, giving a ton of effort and might just be coming up short. Let's not forget that Landry is only in his 2nd season as a starter - a sophomore. How many sophomore quarterbacks do you see piloting their teams to a national title?
The answer: I can't find one in the recent past. McElroy was a junior with Alabama last season. Tebow was a junior with Florida in 2008. Flynn was a senior with LSU in 2007. Chris Leak was a senior with Florida in 2006. Vince Young was a junior in 2005 with Texas. Matt Leinart was a junior with USC in 2001. Matt Mauck was a junior with LSU in 2003. Craig Krenzel was a junior with Ohio State in 2002.
I could go on, but I'm tired of digging through the records. The point is that Landry Jones is a sophomore, and if your expectation was for him to be as flawless as Sam Bradford and lead us to a national championship, then your expectations were probably too high.
Veteran quarterbacks and veteran defenses win championships in college football. That's just the way it is. We have neither right now. I think that this can still be a successful season. We can still win a Big 12 Championship, and yes, winning your conference is important. I would be satisfied with a team that seems to try harder than last year (it already seems to be that way) and improves on their record from last season.
The problem is that we cheer for the Oklahoma Sooners, unquestionably one of the most successful college football programs in history. And success breeds high expectations. But let's not let those expectations cloud our judgement of a young and improving team. And let's cut Landry a little slack. He's still learning and improving, and he's trying to replace, in my opinion, one of the most efficient and intelligent quarterbacks that has played in college football in the last several decades.
Let me remind you that following the Missouri game, we realized that we could still win a Big 12 Championship, and that goal is still alive. Now is not the time to throw in the towel on this team.