Friday Rewind: QB Analysis Tops The Agenda

STILLWATER - Okay it was Friday and not Sunday but while Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy was waiting for his players to finish check-ups and treatment in the training room, he did his usual day after the game conference call with reporters. Gundy was on the phone for nearly 20 minutes before excusing himself to meet his players and staff the night after a dramatic 31-28 victory over Colorado.

The first couple of questions for Gundy had to do with Bedlam and the weekend plans for the Cowboys which call for the team to finish up reviewing the Colorado game and then have Saturday off before a team meeting on Sunday afternoon to begin preparation for the Bedlam game.

"We feel good about our football team and we have been able to win some football games under difficult circumstances," said Gundy when asked how he felt about the health and condition of his team.

"I was really happy for our team and for our seniors that we won the game. Our mental approach is not going to change. We are going to take the next couple of days off and then come back and get prepared. It's a big game and it is important to a lot of people in this state which makes it fun for all of us. We'll get ready and be prepared to go and try and win the football game."

From there the conversation quickly moved to quarterbacks and the first teamer that sat out Thursday night's win.

Zac Robinson was suited up but it did not appear that he could play. He did not throw a single pass during warm-ups. In fact, he barely lifted his arm. He is getting medication and he is hoping to improve enough to play in Bedlam.

Gundy was asked if Robinson was unable to play or if keeping him out was more of a precaution for the senior signal caller.

"It was more precautionary because I didn't feel he could play at full speed," explained Gundy. "If it had been the last game in his career, would he have pulled it off? I don't know because that wasn't the situation.

"I would say it was both in that I didn't think I was ready to play and it was precautionary too. I think he can be ready to play for this week. We'll get back to practice and see him throw on Monday."

The head coach admitted that the combination of a Thursday game and Zac being down for the contest really changed things.

"It was a shock for the team and for the coaches," said Gundy. "We've had the same guy playing quarterback for 34 straight games. He's been the guy."

Many Oklahoma State fans questioned the decision to start Alex Cate because they had seen Brandon Weeden throw for 77 yards and two touchdowns in mop-up duty against Grambling. Weeden played in that game only because Cate was knocked out on his first play in the game. Still, Gundy had his reasons for going with Cate, who finished the first half 0-for-9 with one interception.

"Cate had done well in practice and Brandon had been okay in practice," said Gundy with his tone identifying that he likely has not been a big fan of Weeden's paractice habits. "There is no doubt now that we will increase Brandon's reps in practice and he's earned that. He is the second-team quarterback."

The former Edmond (Santa Fe), Okla., three-sport standout in football, basketball, and baseball played professional baseball for the better part of four years with the New York Yankees (second-round draft choice), Los Angeles Dodgers, and Kansas City Royals.

A stellar pitching prospect, Weeden has a cannon of an arm to throw the football with. Gundy said he has made plays in practice but he wants to see more from Weeden if he is going to be the future starter.

"Some, he's done some in practice and made a few plays," explained Gundy. "You don't know how they will respond until they have to make plays in the game. It isn't that he will practice poorly but he just seems that he gets bored at practice.

"The good ones are into it on every play, every rep, every read in every practice. I would hope so (that this would change for Brandon at practice). He's been around here two years and I would think that he would want that now that he has a taste of playing. He is a decent size guy, can move around, and he can fling it."

He sure can, and his 10-of-15 passing for 168 yards and two touchdowns, not to mention several clutch third-down conversions, was a major reason the Cowboys pulled out the win. The receivers started to come around too and that was a good deal.

Weeden revealed afterwards that during halftime, and not knowing yet if he was going to go in, he talked with each of the receivers to make sure they knew they needed to step up. Gundy said the OSU offensive staff felt that Colorado's corners were better than good.

"They made some plays but the cornerbacks from Colorado we thought were some very good football players," said Gundy. "They mixed up their coverages and were blitzing. It was a situation where they were going to hit you some and you were going to make some plays."

Weeden moved around a little, but it is Robinson and his presence in the offense that sparked the Tulsa World's Bill Haisten to ask about the Cowboys again near perfect balance this season as they have rushed for 2,239 yards (203.5 yards per game) and passed for 2,167 yards (197.0 yards per game).

"It's surprising to me in that we have been that balanced for four years," said Gundy. "We rush the football to throw it and we are comfortable with our system. No question the reason we have been that way is that we have a good rushing quarterback. Zac has been able to tuck the ball and run and convert and make plays for us."

The Cowboys survived Thursday night without Zac Robinson. They survived against a frustrated Colorado team, and a miserable start at quarterback by Alex Cate. They also survived ESPN Thursday Night Football and a game where they were less than their best.

The head coach admitted he will have to think long and hard, too long and too hard, to agree to play on Thursday again.

"You never say never but it messed me up. It threw me off," Gundy said. "We've had a pretty good attendance on Saturdays and I looked up and I could see we had some people missing and some empty seats last night.

"We all really like to go home on Thursdays and catch some of the games, but I'm not sure I want to be involved in it.

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