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Story Archives: Oklahoma home to two top QBs
|Oklahoma home to two top QBs|
By Jake Martin
THIBODAUX - Oklahoma's Landry Jones and Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden both find themselves on the Maxwell Award preseason watch list, and ESPN analyst Jesse Palmer believes that the Heisman race will come down to these two athletes.
The Maxwell Award is given to the nation's most outstanding player and after the numbers both guys put up last season, it comes as little surprise to Palmer to find them on the list.
"I've said that I think the Heisman is going to come out of that state whether it be Landry or Brandon," Palmer said. "I was talking to Coach (Jon) Gruden yesterday and I told Coach, 'These guys are going to be doing Camp Gruden at this time next year.'"
Both quarterbacks were participants in the Manning Passing Academy earlier this month.
Jones feels honored to be mentioned as a Heisman candidate but is putting the individual goals on the back-burner. He said he's focused on winning more games and all the individual awards will come with the territory.
"I mean, if it happens it happens, if it doesn't, it doesn't," Jones said. "I'm not really worried about it. It's a huge honor and would be a great deal for me to win. But that comes along with team success, and I'm trying to win football games and get us to a national championship."
Palmer predicted the Sooners to be in the national championship game at the end of the year, and Oklahoma's predicted preseason ranking according to College Football Live is No. 1.
Weeden likes that the Cowboys aren't getting the same national attention that the Sooners are getting because he hopes to play the underdog role.
"I really don't read into it to be honest with you," Weeden said. "Sometimes it's good to just fly under the radar. And this year we won't. We're going to get the best from every team on our schedule. We won 11 games last year and had a great year. We may not get the national respect that a lot of people think, but we still think we have a good football team. It'll be a fun year."
Palmer isn't buying that Weeden is being overlooked. He said Weeden and Jones both put up huge numbers for their teams.
"(Weeden) puts up video game numbers," Palmer said. "He had a year in the system now and even though he has a new offensive coordinator, he knows this offensive system like the back of his hand. He has the understanding and has so many good receivers like (Justin) Blackmon who are coming back."
Weeden passed for 4,277 yards and had 34 touchdowns a year ago. His Cowboys ranked second in the FBS in passing yards per game last year and third in points scored per game with 44.2 in the FBS rankings according to ESPN. Weeden was reluctant to give a prediction on how many points the Cowboys would put on the scoreboard this year.
"I don't know," he said with a laugh. "Whether it's 10 or whether it's 50, we just have to score more than the other team."
Oklahoma State might have been piling on points, but the Sooners had their fair share of scoring being done, as well.
Oklahoma ranked third overall in passing yards per game and 14th in points scored last season with 37.2, according to ESPN.
Jones posted video game-like numbers himself when he threw for 4,718 yards and had 38 touchdowns. Jones said he just wants to improve his game and be a better quarterback for his team.
"You set a goal of what you want to do, and my goal is to be better than last year," Jones said. "Whether that's numbers or whether that's winning two more games, that's my goal right now. I just want to be a better quarterback and be more efficient on the field."
Jones has been working hard in the weight room and has focused his attention towards the "little things."
"I'm working really hard in the weight room," Jones said. "I'm working really hard on my feet and getting faster and more explosive. I'm just trying to focus on the little things. In the game of football, little things add up to a lot, so I'm trying to focus on any weakness that I have and trying to strengthen them."
The two quarterbacks will face off in the last game of the regular season against each other in a pivotal Big 12 matchup.
"What makes it so exciting is we'll get to see those two guys against each other again, and it's a very good chance that game could decide who wins the Heisman," Palmer said.
"The Oklahoma game is the last game on the schedule so it's usually for all the marbles, Weeden said. "It's just another game for us in retrospect, but it's still one of the biggest games on the schedule because that's our rival."
Both players said they were working hard this offseason on their footwork and timing with receivers. Weeden admits that he likes this time of the year right before the season.
"There's a lot of hyping going on around here. It's a good time of the year," Weeden said.
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