STILLWATER — When Brandon Weeden stepped up to the line of scrimmage during Oklahoma State's first scrimmage of the fall on Saturday, the junior quarterback had a completely different feeling than he did in the spring.
Three months after a solid showing in the Cowboys' spring game, Weeden is operating at a completely different comfort level this fall. Asked if he could tell the difference between the spring and early fall practices, Weeden didn't hesitate.
“From a comfort level for sure,” Weeden said after Saturday's scrimmage. “I felt a lot better today than even the spring game and throughout the spring.”
Head coach Mike Gundy and offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen both praised Weeden's performance in Saturday's scrimmage.
“I don't remember him making a lot of errant throws,” Gundy said. “He handled himself well moving out of the pocket, he stayed composed and found receivers down the field.”
Weeden was one of the standouts of Saturday's scrimmage as Gundy said he completed passes to 10 different receivers while running the first-team offense.
“Weeden will throw the ball around and find guys,” receiver Josh Cooper said. “He's looked good (this fall); he's always in the film room studying and in practice he's looked great.”
Holgorsen pointed to Weeden's decision-making as a positive to take away from OSU's first scrimmage. It is clear his comfort level has increased because he's seeing things quicker and getting rid of the ball quicker.
“He can operate (the offense) a bit quicker,” Holgorsen said. “He threw to the open guy. For the most part, I thought he made the right decisions (during the scrimmage).”
Although it's early and he has yet to run the system in a game, Weeden appears to have progressed to a point where he has a good feel for how the play will unfold before the snap.
“When I get the signal from the sideline, I have a feeling of what Coach Holgorsen is trying to do,” Weeden said. “If I can keep that going, I'll feel even more comfortable come game two or three.”
Maintaining that understanding of what they're trying to accomplish with a particular play call could be one of the biggest keys to the offense because it helps Weeden develop the capability to audible out of a bad play if needed.
“I see blitzes,” Weeden said. “I understand what is (happening) on the defensive side of the ball and adjust (to that).”
It all goes back to Weeden's commitment to being successful in the Cowboys' new offense. Since he realized his opportunity to be a starting quarterback for OSU, his teammates — and the coaching staff — have talked of his dedication to spending time in the film room, and Holgorsen has singled out his improvement over the summer.
“I questioned a lot of the stuff he did in the spring and told him to fix it in the summer,” said the Cowboys' first-year offensive coordinator. “And (early in fall practice) a lot of the stuff is better.”
The devotion to being successful — which Gundy said was missing a year ago — has paid off during fall practice.
Said Holgorsen: “We see him making the correct reads and making the correct checks, not all the time but you're never going to do it all the time. He's doing it (checking out of a play) more than I thought he would.”