Thursday, October 13, 2011
A look inside the world of OSU quarterbacks
By ESPN.com staff
ESPN's Year of the Quarterback "Depth Chart" special premiered last night, taking a look at the life of Oklahoma State's quarterbacks.
Great stuff. Here's a bit of what you missed, with a few thoughts from yours truly.
- First off, great call by the Oklahoma State staff to go through with this. The kind of access given in this special is rare, and speaking as an ESPN employee, it is appreciated. Great exposure for the program.
- I haven't had much of a chance to see Clint Chelf play, but if he plays as well as he gets around rocking the glasses on his scooter, OSU is in good hands.
- Solid, empowering speech to begin camp from coach Mike Gundy, but I think Nebraska might disagree when he says he's not sure anybody's come closer to winning a conference championship in the past three seasons without doing so. (For the Huskers still reading, yes, that last second still deserved to go back on the clock.)
- Gundy says he thought Brandon Weeden improved more during spring ball than he did during the 2010 season. Sounds crazy. Then look at Weeden's numbers and accuracy so far this year. I don't think I'd argue.
- New offensive coordinator Todd Monken's "diverse" vocabulary, as Chelf put it? Highly entertaining, albeit equally unnecessary.
- The rest of the show gave a nice look into Monken's background and expertise, which for whatever reason has gone a little bit underexposed this year compared to those of his predecessor. Can't hurt Monken's coaching profile, either.
- Won't be the first time Weeden's dog gets a mention on this blog, but every mention is deserved. He's awesome.
- Weeden taking time for autographs as he did during a lunch with his wife, Melanie, is nothing new, but he's a guy who really doesn't appear to mind — and maybe even enjoys that stuff. Between minor league baseball and being a backup at OSU, he's spent plenty of time working hard when no one knew who he was. Now, just about everybody in Stillwater knows who he is. I spent some time there this spring with Weeden and his top receiver, Justin Blackmon, and the pair took a minute to pose for a photo with a couple staffers from the restaurant where we ate. For now, at least, Weeden's drinking it in.
- The B-roll from the show gave you a good sense of the kinds of crazy facilities OSU has. They aren't hiding much. The stadium's not the biggest, but you won't find many nicer facilities anywhere in the Big 12. Everything OSU has is right on par with, if not better than, what you'll find at Oklahoma or Texas.
- Hadn't heard this complaint before from a freshman: "It feels like my shoulder's falling off right now," freshman J.W. Walsh said. "We've thrown 200-300 more balls than I've ever thrown in a practice." Lots of throws and very fast-paced. Welcome to Oklahoma State. Monken noted that some of the pain came from a change in mechanics (which Walsh definitely needs) that might have put stress on muscle groups he hadn't previously used.
- T. Boone Pickens' debut on the show walking off a private jet? Swag. And perfect. This is what comes with giving a school $500 million. "We've got it. Everything's lined up. Let's do it. Let's get a national championship. I'm ready, and I know everybody else is," Pickens said. They're on track this year.
- "More times than not, [Justin Blackmon] made me look better than I should have last year," Weeden said. Don't sell yourself too short there. Not many quarterbacks throw the fade as well or are as accurate as Weeden.
- "We should just invest in a ball machine called the 'Weeden'" said an OSU receiver during a lunch break in fall camp. "Have that thing slingin' about 100 miles an hour."
- I'm terrified enough of Pistol Pete's ceramic (or whatever) oversized head. If the dude came in the team meeting room and started firing off a gun like he did on the show, I'm not sure I could handle it.
- Love the new jerseys, and I liked seeing inside the process of Weeden picking the jersey combos. However, the gray jerseys just aren't a good look. All the others are solid.
- Good insight on the meeting between Gundy and Monken discussing Weeden's development? Real? Staged? I don't know. But it was interesting.
- Quote of the show from Monken on game day, regarding Louisiana-Lafayette: "They got one guy that's a senior they think is an NFL player. He plays right corner, and we got the best receiver in the nation playing over there. So [expletive] him. It's all about us." Well said. Blackmon finished with 144 yards on eight catches in the 61-34 victory.
- Interesting that Weeden took an opportunity to grab some lunch with family on game day. I was under the impression almost all teams had players on lockdown from Friday evening through postgame on Saturday.
- "You get 13 opportunities in 365 days out of the year," Gundy told his team in a pregame pep talk. It's a fact that's simple but all too often gets lost. It's the biggest reason why, as a lover of this game, I hate to see guys get hurt. Chances to play this game are few, and when players lose them, it hurts them more than fans realize sometimes, as long as their team gets the win.
- Loved the shots of Monken in the booth calling the plays and working the headset with his QBs. Man is intense and gets pretty wrapped up in the task at hand. Also loves being frank about opponents. Outstanding. There's legitimate risk in saying that kinds of things to media before a game. But in the moment? Extremely entertaining.
- Coincidentally, that Lafayette game was probably one of the worst outings of Weeden's career when you consider the high-profile mistakes he made, giving up a TD on an interception from a pass that never should have been thrown. He knew it, too.
Great show. Kudos to our ESPN colleagues. Loved it, and I'm looking forward to more like it. No question Oklahoma State is good enough to reach its goals of a BCS game and more, maybe a national title. But so was Texas A&M. It's a matter of making it happen. That's the hard part. I'm looking forward to seeing the final chapters of this story written in the weeks that follow.