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Why Oklahoma WR Coach Emmett Jones is Still on 'Cloud 9' After Arriving in Norman

Oklahoma's new wide receivers coach called the decision to join OU's staff this past offseason a 'no-brainer' on Thursday night.

NORMAN — Once Brent Venables picked up the phone and called Emmett Jones, there wasn’t much of a debate.

Jones was going to leave Lubbock and take the vacant post in Norman to coach wide receivers at Oklahoma.

“(I’ve) always said to myself, ‘If I ever get the chance to work with these guys. That’s a no-brainer for me,’” Jones said after OU’s practice on Thursday. “I don’t care what other options I have. Any kind of current situation I have. That’s a no-brainer for me.”

And while Jones didn’t need much convincing from the current OU staff, his bond with the program was formed years ago.

An incredibly successful head coach at South Oak Cliff High School in Dallas, where he posted a 30-8 record, Jones remembered admiring Oklahoma from afar whenever the Sooners would come to recruit both at South Oak Cliff and in the years prior when Jones was working as an assistant at Dallas Skyline High School and Dallas Lincoln High School.

“We patterned our staff after Oklahoma,” Jones said. “Everything we did it was cut and paste straight from Oklahoma. Mindset. The grit. The style. The physicality. The intimidation. All that. It came from the University of Oklahoma.”

Even when Jones attended OU’s yearly bout with Texas to watch his former high school receiver Mike Davis play for the Longhorns, Jones said he wanted a vantage point where he could watch Bob Stoops’ every move on the sideline.

“I wanted to sit on Oklahoma’s side in the room,” Jones said. “You can just see on my face I’m just locked into everything that coach Stoops and coach Venables and those guys were doing to.”

Jones’ admiration for the program didn’t stop when he made the jump up to college football.

In 2015, Texas Tech brought him into the fold as the director of player development.

That year, the Red Raiders made the trip to Norman, a 63-27 win for the Sooners, but a moment before the game even kicked off is what still resonates with Jones.

“I remember being on that bus the first trip with Kliff Kingsbury we came to Norman to play,” Jones said. “And I remember we took that exit to come down Lindsey, drive to the stadium. I remember saying to myself I feel like we made the wrong turn. That’s not the right turn to make.

“When I come down that road — you can ask my wife — I still get chills just driving past those houses. It brings back all types of memories.”

The move hasn’t just been appealing on paper to this point either.

Since arriving on campus, OU offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby has been pleased with how Jones has integrated with the staff and the players, something Lebby thought he’d have no trouble with.

“Coach Jones has been awesome,” Lebby said on Tuesday. “A ton of history there with me and him, going all the way back to when he was a head coach at (South Oak Cliff)… A guy that I trust, a guy that’s incredibly passionate about being great every single day. He fits our room, and happy he’s here. Been great for those wideouts.”

Jones wasted no time getting to work with OU’s receiver room that will have to replace Marvin Mims’ 1,083 yards and six touchdowns from last year.

Even before practices got underway, Jalil Farooq said Jones set the tone for the Sooners’ wide receiver room.

“He's about business,” Farooq said on Tuesday. “Came in, came with that attitude. I knew what he was about.”

But being about business first hasn’t come at the cost of connecting with his new crop of receivers.

“We’re building a great relationship,” Farooq said. “He’s a great coach. Fundamentally sound coach. He likes to build us from scratch so he has a lot of details. He focuses on details so I feel like I'm improving my game a lot.”

Developing talent has been Jones’ main charge throughout his collegiate coaching career.

Serving as the wide receivers coach at Texas Tech from 2016-2018, then in the same post at Kansas from 2019-2021 before returning back to the sideline in Lubbock last year, he’s had success helping guys add to their game to produce at a high level in the Big 12.

But he’ll have a different level of resources and backing to recruit at Oklahoma, and the environment he stepped into this winter is still living up to what Jones had always thought it would be.

"I can just continue to build that bridge from Oklahoma to the state of Texas," he said. "... OU has always had a presence in the state of Texas. I just feel like with me having the success I had in Dallas — Dallas Independent School District — getting a chance to work here at Oklahoma it’s like a no-brainer. 

“... I’ve been on all sides. Oklahoma came in my office and recruited players. Coached against Oklahoma for the last nine years. And now I’m playing with them and helping those guys bring banners and bring in elite level recruits.

“I’m still like on Cloud 9... It’s every bit of what everybody think of OU. And that’s one thing I tell a lot of recruits and parents back in Texas. It’s every bit what you think from the outside in. It’s only going to get better too.”

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