Big 12: Robert Matthews
Freudian slips aside, the Oklahoma State quarterback earned his coaches’ confidence when he played second-half savior against Colorado in a nationally televised game last November.
Weeden threw two touchdown passes and salvaged a 31-28 win for the Cowboys, who trailed 21-10 with four minutes to play in the third quarter.
“I didn’t really get too many nerves, I didn’t really hear what was going on throughout the stadium,” he said. “The only time I really heard them was when I threw that pass to Kendall (Hunter) and it got really loud. I just didn’t realize why.”
“That pass to Kendall” was a short eight-yard completion on Oklahoma State’s first possession of the second half. But it drew an ovation from a crowd that watched eight of starter Alex Cate’s nine first-half passes fall incomplete. Cate’s only completion was to a Buffaloes defender, and Mike Gundy chose to make a change at halftime.
Quarterbacks coach Robert Matthews pulled Weeden aside, gave him a brief rundown of the gameplan and sent him on his way.
“It was a dream come true. You wait for that moment two years, basically. Practice, practice and you’re finally thrown into the fire in a Big 12 game,” Weeden said. “And it’s just incredible.”
Weeden, a junior, is the likely successor to three-year starter Zac Robinson, chasing his chance to experience that feeling every Saturday this fall. He’ll have to beat out a pair of freshmen, Johnny Deaton and Clint Chelf, to do it. Cate, who would have been a senior, left the program after the season.
“Obviously, he’s mature,” Gundy said of Weeden. “He’s excited and he’s been studying tape and he needs to develop the leadership role. I think he’ll have the chance to do that, and the players are going to follow him. They’re going to see, they’re going to watch him and see his demeanor and the way he carries himself.
“And now is the time for him to develop those skills.”
Weeden’s age might not have as much to do with his team’s tendency to follow as his position. If a coach opens his mouth about Weeden, it won’t be long before the word mature makes an appearance. Weeden says it hasn’t affected his relationships with teammates, some of whom are eight years younger than him.
“I don’t think a lot of the guys on this team would know I’m as old as I am -- unless you told them,” he said.
The task now becomes mastering new offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen’s pass-happy offense that gained more yardage than any team in college football a season ago at Houston.
“I feel pretty comfortable. I haven’t had many reps yet, but the minimal reps I have had, I feel good when I’m out there,” Weeden said.
And he’s not shy about admitting his comfort and confidence stems from that night in the spotlight.
“That was my first real, meaningful snaps,” he said. “I felt good coming back for the OU game and throughout bowl practices.”
Now, that confidence will have to carry over into the spring and fall as he tries to cement his status as the permanent starter.
“You have to be confident behind center,” Weeden said. “If you don’t have confidence, you’re not going to make plays.”
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy apparently has hired Johnny Barr, who will be joining the Cowboys' program for a third time, the Oklahoman has reported.
Barr is expected to fill the Cowboys' recruiting coordinator position that was vacated when Robert Matthews was hired to an assistant's position.
Barr first served as an assistant coach with Pat Jones when Gundy was a quarterback in the late 1980s. He later coached on Bob Simmons' staff with the Cowboys in 1995-96. Most recently, Barr worked as director of on-campus recruiting for Dennis Franchione when he coached at Texas A&M through the 2007 season.
Gundy still is considering options for his defensive coordinator position, but is not ready to name a replacement for Tim Beckman.