Weeden, Offense Cap Successful Spring

STILLWATER – The new look Oklahoma State Cowboys showed their new spread offense for the first time with their quarterbacks throwing passes on 73 of the 106 plays in Saturday night's Orange-White scrimmage at Boone Pickens Stadium. Brandon Weeden was impressive in his debut as the Cowboys' starting quarterback as the 26-year-old junior completed 22 of 34 passes for 257 yards and four touchdowns.

"I thought Brandon Weeden played well," Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy said. "He should have thrown an interception there later in the game when (LeRon) Furr dropped the ball but for the most part I thought he was effective."

Weeden and the first-team offense went against defensive coordinator Bill Young's second team much of the evening, and the Cowboys scored eight times (five touchdowns and three field goals) en route to a 55-39 victory over the defense (Gundy decided to use a complicated scoring system that awarded the defense points for turnovers forced, tackles for loss, three-and-outs, etc.).

Weeden, the backup to Zac Robinson last season, completed his four touchdown passes to four different receivers, and 17 different wideouts caught passes during the 106-play scrimmage.

Weeden connected with Justin Blackmon, who turned a short catch into a 65-yard score, for the first TD of the night. He then threw two perfectly timed fade routes to Tracy Moore (28 yards) and Colton Chelf (24 yards) for touchdowns. His fourth and final TD pass was a 10-yarder to Josh Cooper.

Sophomore Adrian Richards accounted for the offense's other touchdown on a 4-yard pass from fourth-string quarterback Brayden Stringer.

As a team, the Cowboys completed 51 of 73 passes for 423 yards and five touchdowns with just one interception (which was picked off by linebacker James Thomas after bouncing off the hands of a receiver).

"I made some decent throws," said Weeden. "I know I made a few mistakes but I had the easy part. The other guys have to get open and catch it. I had one bad decision that I really want back. I threw that hitch to Cooper that was not a good read, and if LeRon had caught it he would still be running (with it).

"Overall I think I made strides but I have a long way to go," Weeden said when asked about the progress he made during the 15 spring practices. "I would like to say I'm further along than I really am but you can never just relax and put cruise control on. You've got to keep getting better. We've got a long ways to go. We've got about 140 days and change until we play, but it'll be here before you know."

Weeden said he would give himself a grade of "whatever average is. For me personally, I would say a ‘B' or ‘C'. I feel good and I feel confident. I'm not beating myself up over it. I feel confident about everything we did as an offense. I hate to be satisfied. We have to keep getting better."

New offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen liked what he saw from his starting quarterback the last several weeks, including Saturday night before an estimated crowd of nearly 7,000 Cowboy fans.

"The last three weeks I thought he's progressed every week," said Holgorsen. "The whole thing with him is just making good decisions. He can make every throw, it's about the decisions. So I just study where his eyes are, and if his eyes are in the right place then we're going to keep getting better because the blocking is going to get better, the routes are going to get better,him having confidence in each positions and knowing where to go, and who to go to, so as long as his eyes are in the right place we should get better.

"He threw a couple of really good fade balls which was good. Overall, I'm pretty pleased with him," added Holgorsen.

Holgorsen also was pleased with freshman quarterback Johnny Deaton, who should still be attending Charles Page High School in Sand Springs, Okla., but enrolled for the spring semester to get a jump-start on his college football career.

The 18-year-old Deaton actually was the first quarterback to take the field and finished the night by completing 14 of 18 passes for 63 yards. He directed the Cowboy offense on a pair of scoring drives.

Deaton, who Gundy said after the game has been given the nickname of "Drama," was 6-for-6 for 40 yards on a 10-play, 41-yard drive which culminated with Dan Bailey kicking a 41-yard field goal. He later guided the Cowboy offense on a 9-play, 48-yard drive (completing 4 of 5 passes for 22 yards) that ended with Bailey converting a 34-yard field goal.

"He went against the first-team defense and overall I thought he did pretty good," said Holgorsen of Deaton. "The first three days he was overwhelmed so I ignored him for three weeks, and told him to just learn and watch and get better and soak it in, and he did.

"When his number was called this past week he got in there and was fired up and knew where to go with the ball. He was much better. Where he's at right now, I didn't expect him to be after his first couple of practices. Right now he is (our second-team quarterback) but that can change. We got another one coming in and we'll re-evaluate it after camp."

Seventeen different players caught passes from the four OSU quarterbacks (Weeden, Deaton, Clint Chelf and Stringer), with Cooper leading the way with seven receptions for 53 yards. Colton Chelf (5 for 69 yards, 1 TD), Tracy Moore (5 for 61, 1 TD), Kendall Hunter (4 for 28), Charlie Moore (4 for 28), Mike Harrison (4 for 16), and Jeremy Smith (4 for 3) also caught their share of passes.

"Our goal was to get around 100 plays. I think we got a little bit more than that," Gundy said. "We wanted to go out and have an effective scrimmage, and obviously we wanted to stay healthy, and we had an opportunity to use a lot of the younger players, and some guys who aren't on the first and second units on kickoffs and some punts, which was really good.

"I thought overall the offensive line played OK. I thought they were somewhat lenient on holding penalties. Defensively, they're a little handicapped the way the point system is, it's a little more difficult for them. Overall, I thought the players competed, good body language and attitude was really important today."

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