MANHATTAN — After twice injuring his shoulder this season, Sam Bradford is done at Oklahoma. The Heisman Trophy winning quarterback will likely take his next snap in the NFL.
Moving on without such a talented player hasn't been easy for Oklahoma. When Bradford initially went down in a season-opening loss to BYU, the Sooners scored 13 points. When Bradford reinjured himself during a loss to Texas, OU again scored 13. In Oklahoma's loss to Miami, it scored 20.
All three of the Sooners' setbacks could easily be blamed on their offense, but with freshman Landry Jones now looking more comfortable under center, Oklahoma may not have to rely so much on its defense anymore.
"They have overcome the loss of their quarterback," Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said, "and replaced him with a young guy who is playing lights out."
Now that the starting job belongs to Jones, he appears to have loosened up.
Oklahoma coaches also seem to be showing confidence in him. Jones played well during a 35-13 win at Kansas last week, throwing for 252 yards and two touchdowns.
"They came out and threw the ball on virtually every snap on the opening drive," Snyder said. "They went down and scored. He threw it well and he threw it with poise. I think he feels pretty comfortable, and rightfully so. He should."
Jones' stats are starting to look impressive, too. He has thrown for 1,363 yards, 13 touchdowns and six interceptions. He is completing more than 60 percent of his passes.
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said Jones has adapted to his new role.
"It was maybe a little surprising how natural it was for him," Stoops said. "He didn't blink a bit. Players sense that. They were with him right off the bat."
K-State senior quarterback Grant Gregory is so impressed with Jones that he laughs when asked about Jones' early struggles.
To him, all Jones needed to become an effective passer was time.
"Everybody who goes to Oklahoma, they're the pick of the litter," Gregory said. "I'm sure he went there in the anticipation of waiting a few years under Bradford. He's doing pretty well so far. He's a good player and in a few years I'm sure he'll be one of the top quarterbacks in the country."