Jones gets another start for Oklahoma

Updated: October 3, 2009, 8:15 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford will not start for No. 8 Oklahoma on Saturday at No. 17 Miami.

Sooners coach Bob Stoops said Thursday that Landry Jones will start for Bradford, who hasn't played since spraining the AC joint in his right, throwing shoulder the first week of the season.

Griffin: Wise Decision

Bob Stoops' decision to start quarterback Landry Jones against Miami, thus giving Sam Bradford another week to heal, makes perfect sense to ESPN.com's Tim Griffin. Blog

"Sam has made daily progress, but we don't feel like he's quite where he needs to be yet," Stoops said in a statement. "Our team has a lot of confidence in Landry's ability and we're looking forward to going into the game with him at quarterback."

Stoops did not say whether Bradford could serve as Jones' backup. When he last spoke to reporters, Stoops said he had not ruled out playing both quarterbacks against the Hurricanes (2-1).

The Sooners (2-1) have yet to play third-stringer Drew Allen, instead preserving the freshman's redshirt and using John Nimmo to replace Jones late in their last two blowouts.

Offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said the offense doesn't change when Landry plays instead of Bradford.

"They're both very similar," he said. "We're really more concerned about what the line can do, what our receivers can do and what's our plan of attack and to execute and to play sound football.

"We're more worried about the surrounding parts than those two guys."

Bradford sprained his shoulder when he was slammed to the turf late in the first half of Oklahoma's 14-13 loss to BYU on Sept. 5.

Jones, a redshirt freshman, replaced Bradford in the next two games, back-to-back shutouts against Idaho State and Tulsa. Jones threw a school-record six touchdown passes in the 45-0 victory over Tulsa on Sept. 19, the Sooners' last game.

For the season, he is 49-for-81 for 673 yards with nine touchdowns and three interceptions.

"There's no rushing Sam to get back," offensive tackle Trent Williams said. "We feel like we can get it done with Landry."

The Sooners' coaches have said they weren't trying to gain a competitive advantage by withholding their decision on Bradford. Instead, they were gathering as much information on Bradford's recovery as possible -- and, apparently, giving him every chance to show he'd be able to play.

"It's not like one we're running the option and in the Wildcat and doing all this and then the other guy we're doing something different," Stoops said. "Our plan of attack stays the same really all the time."

Miami was preparing the same way.

"We're preparing for Oklahoma's offense," coach Randy Shannon said. "We can't prepare for Sam Bradford or any other quarterback. We've got to prepare for the offense. The quarterback is what makes that offense go and they're not going to change the plays because of who their quarterback is."

The Hurricanes' ability to deal with the Oklahoma air attack, however, took a hit on Thursday when the school announced that starting safety Randy Phillips would miss the game with an upper extremity injury sustained in Miami's loss to Virginia Tech last week.

Oklahoma's offense struggled with both Bradford and Jones at quarterback in the opening game, particularly as the offensive line piled up penalties. Those issues disappeared against Idaho State of the Football Championship Subdivision and Tulsa.

Miami, though, has been playing at a higher level and Saturday night will also be Oklahoma's first true road game of the season.

"Sam handled it well as a young guy years back. [Landry's] started that way," Wilson said. "A bigger challenge, a much greater team we're playing this week. It'll be interesting to see if he's in that situation how he responds."

Wilson said he left Jones in the last two games longer than he might otherwise have had his starter playing, giving him extra experience running the offense. And just because Jones will be making only his third career start doesn't mean Wilson will lean on 1,000-yard rushers Chris Brown and DeMarco Murray in his play calling.

"We need balance and we need to take care the ball and protect the [quarterback] and attack the defense," Wilson said.

"You don't go into this arena, no matter who your quarterback is, playing with your hand tied behind your back and playing cautious."

The Associated Press and ESPN college football reporter Joe Schad contributed to this report.