MORGANTOWN - Landry Jones sat on a stool in one of those vast conference rooms at a Dallas hotel in late July being peppered by questions that ranged from Geno Smith to Blake Bell, from Sam Bradford to the NFL, from all the things he has accomplished as Oklahoma's quarterback to all the things he has not.
He answered them all patiently and fairly eloquently, for after all this was not Jones' first rodeo. The Big 12's annual football media event was just another function for a guy who, by the time this season ends, will have thrown more passes (and perhaps for more yards) than anyone in league history.
Yet on this day he did so while exhibiting a new, somewhat nervous habit. He just couldn't stop sliding the wedding ring on and off his finger or otherwise fidgeting with it to the point of distraction.
"Oh, I know. Whitney always hounds me about playing with this thing,'' Jones said, continuing to twist it around on his finger. "She thinks I'm going to lose it. And I find myself sitting here just twirling it in my hands and always playing with it, so I think I will lose it one day.''
Forgive Jones the preoccupation, though. After all, it had been barely two weeks since he and Whitney Hand, OU's All-Big 12 senior guard on the school's women's basketball team, had tied the knot. They were married in front of 350 friends and family in Hand's hometown of Fort Worth, Texas, took a quick honeymoon trip to Las Vegas and then returned to Norman, Okla., for school and work.
Far from being yet another distraction and something else to deal with, Jones figures marriage isn't going to complicate his life at all. In fact, it can only change it for the better.
"I definitely have a lot less stress not being engaged anymore and actually being married,'' Jones said. "She's great. She understands. She's an athlete, too, so we have a really good relationship.''
Understanding Jones and his career at Oklahoma, though, takes some doing. To say it has been up and down would be an understatement.
Consider that since taking over for an injured Bradford early in his redshirt freshman season of 2009, Jones has put up numbers that would be the envy of any quarterback in the country. Heading into Saturday's game with West Virginia, he ranks either second or third in Big 12 history in total offense, passing yards, attempts, completions and touchdowns.
Oh, and try this stat on for size: 233 of 384 for 3,044 yards. That's the number of Jones attempts, completions and yards he's AHEAD of the next guy in each of those categories among the NCAA's active career leaders.
Yet on talk radio and chat rooms in Oklahoma, some can't wait until Jones is gone. Why? Well, because in his three previous seasons as a starter the Sooners have finished 8-5, 12-2 and 10-3 with three bowl wins. Not bad, right? But not national championship level, either.
And at a school that considers that the only legitimate goal - even if 25 of the last 26 OU teams have fallen short - well, there's not much margin for error.
So you will excuse Jones if he considered leaving after last season for the NFL draft. And he almost did.
"It was day by day,'' Jones said. "One day I felt like I was leaving and the next day I was staying and the next day I was leaving again. So it kind of went back and forth for a couple of weeks there.