STILLWATER — Mike Gundy drove back from Dallas on Tuesday, mentally preparing a speech for his squad in case the news on Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon wasn't good.
Safe to say, Gundy wasn't going to tell the Cowboys the truth. Which was this: the loss of Weeden and Blackmon to the NFL would have “depleted” the Cowboys.
Now that Weeden and Blackmon have decided to remain Cowboys, Gundy is free to shoot straight.
2011 can be a special season for OSU. A very special season. Even more special than 2010, when State set a school record for victories (11) and posted its first top-10 finish (coaches poll) since 1984.
“If they wouldn't have returned, I doubt we'd be in anyone's top 40,” Gundy said. “Selfishly, it's good for Oklahoma State. Keeps us from being depleted. Puts us in great position.”
Weeden, OSU's first all-conference quarterback since the Missouri Valley days, and Blackmon, the reigning Biletnikoff Award winner as the nation's top receiver, indicated they were a package deal. One would stay if the other would. One would leave if the other did.
And Blackmon admitted he was close to leaving. But now he's back for another season, and so is Weeden, and despite a rugged schedule (at Texas, at Tech, at Mizzou, at A&M, Bedlam at home), the Cowboys appeared loaded for 2011.
Preseason top-10 is likely. So is being picked second in the new-order Big 12, which could set up yet another all-marbles Bedlam showdown, again at Boone Pickens Stadium.
“It's going to be like before the Georgia game” that opened 2009, Gundy said of the upcoming offseason. “Everybody's going to want to talk to me. Now we have all the answers again. Which is great for Oklahoma State.”
2009 ran out of steam because of injuries and Dez Bryant's NCAA problems. Injuries are always with us, and off-field vipers can crop up on anyone. But 2011 looks limitless for OSU football.
“This is the opportunity of a lifetime, to play at Oklahoma State,” Weeden said. “To play with a guy like Blackmon, you don't get a chance like that all the time.
“It's a tough decision, but I feel like I made the right one.”
Blackmon would have been a huge loss for OSU. But Weeden's departure would have torpedoed Gundy's remarkable building job.
No other quarterback on campus is a classic dropback passer. No offensive coordinator has been hired in Dana Holgorsen's stead. It's possible Gundy would have had to scrap Holgorsen's version of the Air Raid offense and gone to something that matched his young quarterbacks' talents.
“If he would have departed, we would have looked considerably different on offense,” Gundy said of Weeden.
No one in orange wants that. Now, that nightmare is averted. The Cowboys have their pitcher and their catcher and are poised to make 2011 another special season.
Maybe the most special in OSU history.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at . He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.