The Daily Oklahoman did an interview recently with Sooner Co-Offensive Coordinator Josh Heupel, and it has inspired me to take a look back at the Heupel-era at Oklahoma.
You know it’s off-season when…..
So let’s take a walk down Josh Heupel memory lane, shall we?
As most Sooners have engrained in their memory, Josh Heupel led Oklahoma to a undefeated season in 2000 and to the 2001 Orange Bowl to win the National Championship against Florida State. He was was runner-up for the Heisman Trophy that same year, losing out to FSU QB, Chris Weinke.
After leaving the Sooners, Heupel took off to the Miami Dolphins and then the Green Bay Packers, not making it past being a 4th string quarterback. Shoulder tendonitis of his throwing arm ended up being the death of his playing career.
In 2004, Heupel returned to the Sooners as a graduate assistant to Bob Stoops. This also gave him a chance to work with his former back up quarterback, Jason White.
White had won the Heisman the year before, and was a finalist again in his 2004 season; losing out to USC quarterback Matt Leinart. Jason White has said that Josh Heupel had always been one of his inspirations as a Sooner.
After one year as a graduate assistant, Heupel was offered the position as the University of Arizona’s tight ends coach by none other than Mike Stoops. The newly-appointed head coach of the Wildcats, and brother of Bob. Mike was an assistant at Oklahoma during Heupel’s playing days at Oklahoma.
Heupel finally returned to the Sooners in 2005 as the quarterbacks coach. After a few seasons, enter first prodigy: Sam Bradford.
Bradford’s freshman season at Oklahoma was the year of the Rhett Bomar debacle. Bomar was dismissed from the team for violating NCAA rules; Senior Paul Thompson was named the starter. With Thompson graduating, this left the QB postion up for grabs. Lliterally. It was between: Keith Nichol, Joey Halzle and Sam Bradford. I think most thought it would end up being Nichol.
But Heupel found his man, and this was Bradford. As a redshirt freshman, Bradford came out slinging.
His first starting game, he threw for 363 yards and broke a school record for most yards completed in a quarter, held by his new mentor, Heupel. In the next game, Bradford broke ANOTHER school record for most consecutive pass completions, 22, stealing this from one of his idols, Jason White.
Sam’s Sophomore season is what made him the new Sooner idol. Breaking records, achieving awards: the Heisman, the Davey O’Brien, and the Associated Press Player of the Year to name a few. To the horror of most,especially me at the time, Sam went out with a season-ending shoulder injury his Junior year and was replaced by prodigy number 2: Landry Jones.
Jones had an up and down start debuting as QB for the Sooners. Consistency was his biggest problem. There was also the comparisons of him and Bradford swirling around, so Landry had some big shoes to fill. By the end of the 2009 season, Landry had found his flow and was an honorable mention for the Big 12′s Offensive Freshman of the Year and ESPN’s Big 12 Freshman of the Year. He ended up breaking Bradford and White’s record as the most touchdown passes thrown in a game, making the new number 6.
Jones was named the starter in 2010, naturally. And here’s a look at what happened…
He was the Sammy Baugh Award winner, an honorable mention All-American by Sports Illustrated, All-Big 12 first team by the Dallas Morning News and Kansas City Star. He was named All-Big 12 second team by AP. Rightfully owns seven passing records at OU. Tied for the single-game yardage mark with 468 yards on an OU record: 62 attempts were at Oklahoma State. He set the single-season completion record with 371 completions on a program record 568 attempts.
He has season (two) and career (three) record for 400-yard games. Multiple TD passes in 11 of his last 14 outings and has seven career games with four or more TDs including four this season. Jones threw for 300+ yards on nine occasions during 2010. He leads the nation in completions and attempts and is No. 2 in total passing yards and TDs. Led the Big 12 in total offense.
All this put together is Heisman potential for 2011.
And it all goes back to one person: Josh Heupel. Heupel is known for producing. The past list of Sooner quarterbacks is a prime example.
With Heupel at the helm of the offense this season, expect big things out of the Sooners and his quarterback prodigies.
It’s tradition in Oklahoma, ya know.