For Brandon Weeden, it's been a long seven months since he and Justin Blackmon sat together, pleasing the Cowboys faithful with announcement that they'd return for another football season.
Since then, much hype and expectation has accompanied this Oklahoma State team's every step toward the 2011 season. Now, finally, the Sept. 3 opener against Louisiana-Lafayette appears in sight.
“The anticipation is the hardest part,” said Weeden. “You've got to walk to class every day and hear all the buzz and see all the excitement, which is a fun part for me. But once you know it's game time, you make the walk from the union to the stadium and it starts to sink in that you're going to play a game, you're ready to get it on.
“I'm ready to get it on. All the other stuff is fun, but ultimately we just want to play the game. After the first one, we won't have to worry about talking it. We can just go week to week and look forward to playing on Saturdays.”
AND THE OPENING UNIFORM COMBINATION IS…
Sounds like Cowboys coach Mike Gundy truly did delegate the decision to decide the uniform combination for games.
So much so, that he's out of the loop.
Gundy said Thursday that the call had been made on OSU's uniform of choice for the season opener.
“Yes,” he said, “and I don't know what they are. Honestly, I don't know what they picked.”
The new Nike Pro Combat uniforms provided to the Cowboys offer 48 potential combinations in colors featuring white, black, orange and gray. For the opener, Gundy said OSU's equipment staff presented 15 to 20 combinations, with a group of veteran players making the call.
“They decided which ones they wanted to wear,” said Gundy. “I said, ‘That's perfect. That's good.'”
GUNDY ON WEEDEN: ‘I WOULDN'T TRADE HIM'
When analysts line up the top college quarterbacks across the country, Weeden typically is included in the conversation.
Asked if Weeden, with another big year, could be considered the nation's best, Gundy offered no one he'd rather have.
“His personality, his ability, what he's given to this team and how he's developed,” Gundy said, “I wouldn't trade him for anybody in the country. After watching him in the spring, I think he'll play this game for a long time out because he's put together to do it. And he's bought in and he's willing to play with pain and do all the things it takes to be a good quarterback.”
YOUNG HIGH ON D-LINE
OSU's depth chart at defensive tackle doesn't offer much in the way of experience.
Nigel Nicholas, a junior, projects to be a full-time starter for the first time, and he'll be flanked by redshirt freshman Christian Littlehead. The backups are true freshman James Castleman and sophomore Anthony Rogers.
Still, defensive coordinator Bill Young said his expectations are high.
“I think we're going to be a lot more sound than we were a year ago,” Young said. “Assignment wise, our players know more about what they're doing.
“We have some young guys, but they were in the system and we feel good about them, especially the first unit. The second unit, they're getting better every day.”
OPPONENT WATCH: QB CONTROVERSY AT LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE?
Little more than a week away from its opener at OSU, Louisiana-Lafayette hasn't settled its quarterback position.
The Ragin' Cajuns returned a two-year starter in Chris Masson, but new coach Mark Hudspeth is also considering junior Blaine Gautier. Both quarterbacks played against the Cowboys a year ago, with Masson throwing for 308 yards and two touchdowns, with an interception, in a wild 54-28 OSU win.
Hudspeth has said he might wait until game day to reveal the starter.
“I've heard he's gonna announce it at kickoff or whatever,” Masson told reporters in Lafayette. “I don't know. I don't know if he'll do that. I think he's exaggerating a little bit there.
“But I think he's gonna hold out, and continue to let us get better from competing against each other.”