STILLWATER — During throwing sessions leading up to the Cleveland Browns' rookie minicamp, Brandon Weeden and Josh Cooper occasionally had an additional workout buddy.
The former Oklahoma State receiver spent last season playing for the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League and returns to that team's training camp on June 2.
He talked with me about the experience of playing in the CFL, watching the historic 2011 OSU season from afar and trying to learn some French while living in Montreal.
What brought you back to Stillwater to work out with Weeden and Cooper?
“You can't get work like that nowhere else. I came back down here to work with Brandon and Coop just to get ready, because I'm leaving in a week for training camp.”
How would you describe your rookie season in the CFL?
“It was fun. It was a good experience, because I got to develop more as a receiver and get into a pro offense. My coach, Marc Trestman, is a great coach and I'm learning a lot from him. It's a good situation. I was on the practice roster most of last year up there, and then started the last game as a returner. Now coming into camp, this is the year I've got to try to get a starting position at receiver and hopefully returner, as well.”
How have you developed most as a receiver?
“Coming to Oklahoma State, I played quarterback my whole life. I had only played receiver two seasons — 2008 and then the 2010 season, my final season. I was new to the position. I came into a team with a coach like Marc Trestman and the receiving corps that we have, and I learned so much. Just polishing my routes and reading defense, different things like that I got a lot better on. The main thing is just developing as a receiver from a route-running standpoint, because I had always played quarterback.”
What's the biggest adjustment you had to make from American football to Canadian football?
“One of the big differences is there's only three downs. So on first and second down, you've got to make plays. Every play counts. And for the same reason, three downs, there's a lot of special teams. So you've got a lot of special teams action, a lot of big plays to be made. You've got to get used to that — being able to convert on first and second down and knowing second down is like third down here in the States.”