One-on-One With Brandon Weeden

Brandon Weeden

Brandon Weeden has always been an Oklahoma State fan and was heading to Oklahoma State to play some baseball after a magnificent career on the diamond and the gridiron at Edmond's Santa Fe High School.

However, Weeden's track to Stillwater was sidetracked thanks to being a second-round draft choice of the New York Yankees and a nice bonus check from George Steinbrenner to become a professional baseball player. Weeden would be around players like Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera during his spring training camps with the Yankees. Almost five years and stints with the Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and Kansas City Royals, Weeden decided to leave baseball and finally head to Stillwater and as a quarterback instead of a pitcher.

Weeden played his first significant snaps last season as he bailed out the Cowboys in a nationally televised Thursday night game on ESPN against Colorado. His life is a little different now as he prepares to become the 26-year-old starting quarterback for the Cowboys.

GP: How has your life changed since that Thursday night game here last November against Colorado?
Weeden: A little bit. It was a fun night and something that I'll never forget. You know I just felt like I got my feet wet. It was just one game and I still have a lot to prove. We still have a lot to prove as a team. We lost some key guys and we have some key guys that are ready to step up in some key spots. It has changed a little bit but I am looking forward to the future.

GP: At halftime that night you were so calm. Had somebody clued you in that you were going in because you seemed really at ease with the idea of going out there and working on saving the game?
Weeden: As far as when I found out, I did find out when I went into the locker room at halftime. You know someone said something like get ready right before the first half ended, you know get ready because the second half might be yours. I didn't know for sure until we got in the locker room and Coach (Robert) Matthews said, ‘it's your turn. Go have fun and do what you do and enjoy it.' Right then I wasn't nervous. It all really happened kind of fast and coming back out of the tunnel I never got any anxiety and I was ready to play. My main thing going in was to get the guys around me, the offensive line like Russell (Okung) and Andrew Lewis, guys that had been there and played for four years and guys that might have been thinking, ‘man, we don't have Zac (Robinson) and we've got a third-string quarterback in here.' I wanted to calm them down as much as I could and told them I'm going to do as much as I can, and if you guys will give me time then let's see if we can go win a football game.

GP: Third-team quarterback? I think we all know now that you were the better of the two back-up quarterbacks. In the aftermath, head coach Mike Gundy was quoted as saying he had not been as impressed with your practice habits and intensity. Knowing you as being a fun guy but a guy that is going to work hard but maybe a little more loose about it, did any of that rub you the wrong way or did you channel it the right way?
Weeden: That is kind of my personality it may have come off the wrong way. I never talked to Coach Gundy about it. I took what he had to say and used it as constructive criticism and I think he saw me change the way I went about practice and the way I went about everything that I do. You know when you are a third-team quarterback you are not getting a lot of reps and really you are trying to get mental reps more than anything. I was trying to do that as best as I can. I was enjoying it and having a good time. When you are the back-up quarterback you are one snap away and I knew that in the back of my head the whole time, and I went into every game prepared like I was going to play in the game even though we had a great quarterback in Zac Robinson. I just took what Coach Gundy said and I could see where he was coming from because that is my personality and I'm just laid back and easy going and that is just my nature. I've changed the way I go about my business whether it is on the field and everything, field, weight room, trying to get the guys going. I know I am a little bit older than these guys and I try to use that to my advantage as much as I can.

GP: The word is you are early to report and you work harder than anybody and you work longer and stay late. I think if Coach Gundy took inventory of his quarterback he would find that and you might say you were always that way but now you make sure it is more noticeable.
Weeden: I think you hit the nail on the head. I like the old adage that you are the first one to arrive and the last one to leave. I may not always be that but I try to work hard and at the quarterback position guys look to you. You can say things but your actions are what people are going to believe. Even in high school, just like today, I wasn't going to say much but I was going to try to do everything on the field, whether it was baseball, basketball, or football, to try and lead. That is the way I've gone about my business. I try to work hard and I know there are others, just in our conference there are 11 other quarterbacks, that are trying to be the best in the conference but that is what I am trying to do, day in and day out.

GP: I know you are competitive. I heard you out in the hall say you won a scramble golf tournament this weekend with a 58. I noticed you picked up that preseason football magazine. Those magazines are somewhat complimentary of you but you are not perceived as a strength this season. You are looked at like a lot of other players that will be starting for the first time on this team as a weakness. Oklahoma State is not being picked near where they were a year ago. Do you take that personally?
Weeden: No, I don't. I really don't. Stuff like that I will read but I don't try to read a whole lot into that stuff. It's not my nature that I am not into that stuff. I have a lot of work to do but I am looking forward to the challenge. As a team especially, we are replacing a lot of key guys like Dez (Bryant) and Russell, all those guys offensively that have a staple in the past. That is the past and we have to move on and work hard and try to get to the next step. A lot of people are counting us out. I would rather be that guy than to have the bull's eye on my chest. So hopefully, we can put together good summer workouts, a good camp and go win some football games in the fall.

GP: It was obvious that you embraced this offense when Dana Holgorsen was hired. I think a lot of us thought this was a good offense for Brandon Weeden. Now that you have absorbed it and worked it, does this offense excite you the same as the day that you found out about it?
Weeden: No question about it. I really do enjoy it. It is one of those things that the more you study it, the more you look into it, it kind of all makes sense. It all runs together and you can see how you can tweak it here and there. It is a lot of fun at the quarterback position because you have a little more control. You know, you and Coach Holgorsen have to be on the same page when the games come around in the fall. It is a quarterback's dream in that you get to throw the ball around, throw some screens, hand the ball off to one of the best running backs in the country and watch him make plays. It is a quarterback's dream and I have a long ways to go. I need to keep getting reps and keep getting better.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: These answers were taken from an interview with Weeden for the upcoming issue of Go Pokes Magazine in which the Cowboys new starting quarterback will be featured. To make sure you don't miss out on the complete article on Weeden, and the most in-depth coverage of the Cowboys entering the 2010 season, subscribe to Go Pokes Magazine.

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