Oklahoma QB Jones uses spring break for extra work
By JEFF LATZKE
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones took advantage of spring break to head west to California. Not for a trip to the beach.
He wanted to get some extra work in.
Jones spent six days on Stanford's campus working with quarterback guru George Whitfield Jr., who mentored Cam Newton before his selection as the top pick in the NFL draft. Clemson's Tajh Boyd also worked out with Whitfield while Jones was there.
Because they were working out on Stanford's campus, they also ran into projected No. 1 pick Andrew Luck after some workouts.
"George is a great fundamental coach. I couldn't work with our coaches here, so I just decided to go out there and get some work in," Jones said.
Jones had seen Whitfield's work before on television, mostly recalling what he had done with Newton just last year. Whitfield contacted Jones' father, who passed along his phone number to Oklahoma's career passing leader.
Jones said he ran the idea past coach Bob Stoops and offensive coordinator Josh Heupel first, although Stoops didn't recall signing off on it beforehand.
"They were all great with it," Jones said. "I don't think their pride was hurt at all. I don't think their pride should be hurt. You've got Sam (Bradford), Jason (White), coach (Heupel). This place kind of breeds quarterbacks."
Stoops said he had heard of Whitfield but didn't really know him. Regardless, he didn't have a problem with Jones visiting with him during his time off.
"I think it's always good to get any little pointer from anybody you can," Stoops said. "If you think I'm at all sensitive about our quarterback lineage here and how they've been schooled, I think you're mistaken. I think ours is maybe as good as there is in the country. I'm not real insecure about what we've been doing."
During Stoops' time in Norman, Oklahoma has produced two Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks - White and Bradford - and Heupel was the runner-up in 2000, when the Sooners won the national championship.
Stoops compared it to how he'll visit practices with NFL teams or other college programs in the offseason to see if he notices anything the Sooners should be doing.
"Sometimes you implement it, other times you don't. Other times you get there and, `Geez, I've been doing all these things as it is,'" he said. "It never hurts to always be seeking information."
After deciding to stay in school for his senior season, Jones has been working on holding the ball higher before he throws and improving his movement in the pocket. He tried to address both during his time with Whitfield, going through two-hour sessions each morning and afternoon.
"I think there's obviously still some things that I need to work on but right now, I think it's just kind of polishing up," Jones said. "Polishing up the little things."
Jones said he and Heupel, who's also in charge of the quarterbacks, had already been assessing where he should hold the ball while getting ready to throw but "I just couldn't find a spot that was comfortable." Whitfield offered "just a little different view," and Jones has continued to tinker with it in his practices since getting back.
At this point in a career in which he has thrown for 12,379 yards and 93 touchdowns, Jones' improvements come down to identifying the tiny details that aren't quite right.
"It's usually just those one or two plays a game that you remember, as far as maybe being late or not getting your shoulder out to a throw," Jones said. "It's just those one or two plays that you've got to really focus on and take those things out of your game."
Updated April 5, 2012