Spring Football: Quarterbacks Impress Weeden

STILLWATER - Just after the conclusion of the special teams period, Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy walked over to the sidelines of the practice field adjacent to the new Sherman Smith Training Center and shook hands with a familiar face. The head coach greeted Brandon Weeden, who was visiting practice with several friends after a windy round of golf at Karsten Creek.

Earlier in the day, knowing Weeden was going to be at the Cowboys practice, Gundy recounted that he had called Weeden when he heard that he had signed with the Dallas Cowboys.

"He answered the phone as he was walking out of the Cowboys facility," Gundy said. "That is a great move for him."

His former quarterback agrees.

"Obviously, it's close to home and having a pretty good familiarity with the Dallas area and the Dallas Cowboys organization and stuff like that, it was a perfect fit," Weeden said agreeing with Gundy's assessment. "With the little guy (first baby, a son) and Melanie pregnant, just the convenience of going back and forth to camp and on top of that a great organization that is very well run with lots of stability, that is kind of what I was looking for."

That's right, Weeden and his wife, Melanie, are soon going to be parents with a due date in the middle of summer that should make the baby's arrival just before the start of training camp.

"It's something we are both very excited about. We've been married five years and before the timing wasn't right but we are both ready for this. This is the next chapter and we're excited about starting a new chapter in life and starting a family," Weeden kept talking with a big smile on his face. "Once we found out we were having a baby, a little boy, it really puts everything else in perspective and how special adding to your family is."

As Weeden looked out on the field inside the Sherman Smith Center, which by the way he found impressive, he saw that new freshman quarterback Mason Rudolph has a veteran college quarterback in J.W. Walsh out there. While he has no playing time, Daxx Garman has been a part of both the Arizona and the Oklahoma State programs for three years.

Rudolph has some peer help. It is something Weeden has told the media in Dallas and back home in Oklahoma that he is looking forward to with his playing with the Dallas Cowboys.

"That is what I missed," he lamented over his experience in Cleveland. "I was around Seneca Wallace in Cleveland but only during the preseason and then he was gone. I didn't get a chance to be around him for 16 games and he is a very smart quarterback that has been around the (NFL) game. I took a lot from him the short time I was with him.

"In Dallas, Tony (Romo) has been around a long time and had success, and Kyle (Orton) has been in the league and had a lot of success. Coach (Wade) Wilson played the quarterback position in the NFL and then the head coach Coach (Jason) Garrett, so there are a lot of experienced quarterbacks there in our meeting room in Dallas.

"I think that is something I am really excited about, and better learning how to take my next step and learning the ins and outs of playing quarterback in this league. The experience will help me tremendously," Weeden said.

Weeden picked a good practice to attend as the Cowboys drilled for almost three hours, including a 30-minute team period that put the offense and defense against each other in a variety of situations.

We mentioned Weeden was impressed with the facility, but he winked a few times and was impressed with the quarterbacks. Garman has been throwing the ball particularly impressive in recent days.

"I hadn't seen the indoor yet, so I wanted to check that out and anything that has changed with the facilities," Weeden added. "As far as the football, I wanted to watch the quarterbacks.

"As far as J.W. and what he can do, I kind of know that because I was around him for two years. I've seen Daxx throw it and he can really spin it. I like the way he threw it when I saw him last spring throwing routes. He's even better now.

"Mason Rudolph looks like a really good player. He's a big kid that can really sit in the pocket and throw it. He can move around a little for a big quarterback. I'm always excited to watch these guys and I was really excited with what coach (Glenn) Spencer did with the defense last season. Being back up here and being on campus and in Stillwater is always something that I look forward too."

Gundy agrees with Weeden and, in fact, earlier in the day had told a crew in from Fox Sports that was producing a spring football special on the Cowboys that he liked what he was seeing in all the quarterbacks, including Garman.

"He's an accurate thrower and he's starting to understand the game," Gundy added. "He works hard at it and he spins the ball really nice. The one thing that's happened to him is he's not really played competitively for a number of years, I think three or four years. Now that it's kind of his turn, he's starting to get back into the role and understanding. He's out there getting action and I see kind of a little bit of a gleam in his eye."

Gundy said it was really good to see Weeden and a number of former players make the effort to come back and visit and eyeball the program.

"When we started here years ago we said that at some point, in order for Oklahoma State to be successful in the long run, that we have to develop and build tradition. You start to build tradition by winning," Gundy explained.

"Then when you start to win you bring good players in and you take good care of them. Over a four-, five-, six-year period they'll start to come back. Then that cycle starts, where it takes a long time. I'd used the example before – there's really no fast forward button in developing tradition, and that's tradition when players come back.

"We've had a number of guys show up, but here's a guy that just signed with the (Dallas) Cowboys and is going to take time out of his day to drive up and be around the team and watch the quarterbacks. It means a lot to us and that's what has to happen in order for us to continue to have success."

The OSU Cowboys will be back at it on Friday with a lot of high school coaches watching. The Oklahoma State staff will host the annual Spring Coaches Clinic. Among the speaker are Kingfisher state championship head coach Jeff Myers, Longview, Texas head coach John King, Cedar Hill Texas head coach Joey McGuire, and Norman North head coach Wade Standley.

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