August 30, 2009

Knowing his Role: Weeden more prepped in '09

Being a backup is never easy.

Especially when you're behind one of the best quarterbacks in the college game, such as Brandon Weeden is.

Now in his third year in the Oklahoma State program, the 25-year-old signal-caller is starting to feel comfortable about his position on the team. After a standout high school career, Weeden was drafted by the New York Yankees and gave up the gridiron for the baseball diamond. But he decided to come back to football in 2007 and chose Stillwater as his destination. After sitting out that season as a redshirt, he saw action in one game in 2008 against Missouri State.

But other than that, Weeden has been on the sidelines watching the action, learning the system and trying to further his growth as a player. He and fellow backup Alex Cate have been at the ready in case something was to happen to Zac Robinson. So far, No. 11 has been pretty healthy. But Weeden realizes he has to be ready in case something does happen.

"It's kind of dawned on me that if something were to happen to Zac - hopefully it doesn't - that I'm going to be ready to be thrown into the fire," Weeden said. "The way I look at it is that I'm ready. There's no question I'm ready. I feel very, very confident. If you asked me this a year ago, it'd be so-so. But I'm very comfortable with our offense."

He admits that the state of OSU's offense makes it easier for him if he were needed in a game situation.

"We've got 10 guys around us that make it easy," he said. "We hand the ball off to two of the best backs in the conference, we've got receivers, Dez (Bryant) and guys like that and if you throw it they're going to make plays. For me personally just being one snap away, people always say. My first year in I didn't know what to expect, but now I've come to the reality that I'm right there. I've got to take care of business and prepare every week like I'm the starter. That's what I'm going to do, is prepare like I'm starting the game."

"Granted I can't run like Zac can, but I feel like there are parts of our offense where I know I can excel."

While he waits for next year for an open shot at the starter's job, he doesn't regret his decision to come to OSU. While the West End Zone is making every player happy beyond their wildest dreams ("The food's been good. It's like a buffet, it's huge. Some of those linemen have made the best of it, for sure."), he says the program has benefitted from a coaching staff that has improved greatly in recent years, leading the program from a rough 2005 season through a near-breakthrough '08 campaign.

"They've put the pieces together as far as recruiting and stuff like that," he said. "When I first got here, I didn't have much to base it on, but I feel like from the minute I got here the program's not even run the same way. It's night and day from when I first got here. I think that's hats off to coach (Mike) Gundy, because I think it starts with him. Not only are we a better team, but we deserve it. I think we've worked hard enough as a core to get here. Now we just have to stay here. We have to go out and prove to everybody that we deserve to stay here."

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