Jones' return solidifies OU offense for 2012

The fans around Oklahoma can be brutally tough on quarterback Landry Jones. But the Sooners’ chances of competing for a national championship next season are far greater now that he is returning to school for his senior year.

Jones announced his decision through the school on Thursday.

“We hope to have another opportunity to make a title run,” Jones said. “Most of the offensive line returns and we have several receivers and backs return, too. We’ve also got a lot of guys back on defense, so we’re confident that we can be a strong team.”

The Sooners have many questions to resolve before next season, notably how to retool an offense that sputtered after All-America receiver Ryan Broyles’ season-ending knee injury.

But with Jones at the helm, enough pieces are back that OU could have its most prolific offense since the record-setting attack of 2008.

The Sooners still have the Belldozer. Now they’ll have the Big 12’s most experienced quarterback and prolific passer, too.

Blake Bell’s running prowess rightfully excited OU fans. But according to those around the program, Bell remains a far cry from Jones in passing the ball.

Sure, the Belldozer was unstoppable after its mid-season implementation. But only as a gimmick offense. A full-time Belldozer attack, something coach Bob Stoops ruled out from ever happening last week, would have trouble keeping up with the high-octane offenses of the Big 12. It would also prevent some of OU’s best players -- Kenny Stills, Jaz Reynolds and Roy Finch -- from becoming major factors.

Truth is, the Sooners’ best chance of winning a national title remain with the hurry-up spread. And with Jones’ arm. Especially considering that OU returns a stout pass-protecting offensive line and welcomes perhaps the best recruiting class of receivers in school history.

The Sooners will be able to get even more creative with the Belldozer, as well, perhaps adding a passing element to the package.

Oklahoma is far from a perfect team going into next season.

But with Jones running the show and Bell bringing the Belldozer, the Sooners should be a load offensively next season. Perhaps placing OU in the national championship picture once again.