Thanks for all the questions this week. The last two have been a little odd without a Saturday of games to look forward to. Here's where you can try with a better question if you didn't make it in this week's Mailbag.
Phillip Shoultz in Bartlesville, Okla., asked: With Landry Jones struggles through much of this season, do you expect him to return next year? I'd have to think he wants another year to show his value to scouts?
David Ubben: Well, let's back it up a bit. Jones wasn't as good in 2011 as he was in 2010, but I don't know if I'd go as far to say he "struggled." He didn't play well in Bedlam; this is clear. He still threw for more than 4,300 yards and 28 touchdowns, though he also had 14 picks. That last number is too high, but only one Big 12 quarterback threw for more yards, and Brandon Weeden and Robert Griffin III were the only Big 12 passers to throw more touchdown passes, despite Jones not having a single TD pass in his final three games. Jones played really well against Baylor and, considering the wind, Iowa State. Coach Bob Stoops lauded his play in that game, and generally I'd agree. His receivers hurt him with drops.
I think he'll end up coming back, and as I wrote earlier this week, he should.
Jones has all the measurables. He's a big guy who has added mass since he was a freshman, and he's got a big arm. His mechanics are solid. He's a smart guy, even if he's not necessarily a fiery leader. That stock would rise once he got to the scouting combine.
But Jones regressed this season, for whatever reason. And he continues to falter in some pretty big moments. The thing that hurts him the most is following Sam Bradford. At another school, Jones would be so, so much more appreciated. But because Bradford is sort of the standard Jones is graded against, it's almost unfair. Weeden and RG3 are the only guys who have been better the past two years, and Jones outperformed RG3 last year.
Johnny in Oklahoma City asked: What about Mike Stoops for DC at TAMU?
DU: Stoops will (and does) have a lot of options, but I wouldn't make that hire if I were Kevin Sumlin. The Aggies need a defensive coordinator with a lot of SEC knowledge. Not a lot of guys on Sumlin's staff at Houston -- or Stoops -- have that. They need a guy that knows how to defend SEC offenses, which are obviously a lot different than what you'd see in the Big 12. They need a guy who knows what pieces are needed on defense to win in the SEC. They need a guy who knows how to scout that talent, and to teach his position coaches and other recruiters how to mine that talent.
Stoops is great, but he's not the right fit for Texas A&M.
DU: K-State fans are bringing it hard in the Mailbag the past two weeks. Optimus Klein asked me a question last week, and now this. I'm pretty impressed.
Daniel in Raleigh, N.C., asked: Hey David, I was just accepted to TCU and Baylor, which school will be better to go to for watching football over the next 4 years? I would definitely guess TCU, but if RG3 comes back then Baylor could be pretty fun next year. Also how do these two schools compare to my non Big 12 options over the next four years (University of South Carolina, Florida State, NC State, and SMU) Help me choose my college based on football!
DU: Some tough love here, Daniel: I don't know what's worse — choosing your school based on football, or asking me to help you choose your school based on football.
I've heard Ball So Hard University has a great work-study program, though.
Blake W. in Austin, Texas, asked: Hey David! Great blog and thanks for tweeting too. With all the running back talent expected to be at Texas next year, what are the odds Harsin/Applewhite bring out an option attack in the spring? A little wishbone redux perhaps?
DU: Co-offensive coordinators Bryan Harsin and Major Applewhite need to have some creativity. The fact is this: They're going to have a lot of great tailbacks, and not a proven quarterback. This isn't complex. Texas' offensive line was a lot better this season, but the Longhorns need to find a way to get Malcolm Brown, Joe Bergeron and incoming freshman Johnathan Gray all on the field at the same time, and not ask Case McCoy and/or David Ash/incoming freshman Connor Brewer to throw the ball 40-50 times per game. The Longhorns aren't built to win like that.
Maybe it's the wishbone or maybe it's the option. I like Harsin's ability to find a way to make it happen and get those guys on the field. Texas, though, will be a lot better the less it throws the ball. That's just the way its personnel is set up right now, barring a big transfer or someone showing a ton of progress in spring.