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OSU quarterback Brandon Weeden needs more than big arm to master this spread

A big arm is nice to have, but it will take more for Cowboy passers to succeed in Dana Holgorsen's offense.
By BRANDON CHATMON, Staff Writer, Modified: August 25, 2010 at 10:08 pm •  Published: August 25, 2010

STILLWATER — Brandon Weeden has the looks of a prototypical quarterback: Rocket arm on a 6-foot-4, 219-pound frame.

"He's got the best arm I've been around," Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen said.

Says cornerback Andrew McGee: "You look at the throws Brandon Weeden makes, from one hash 40 yards to the other side of the field... it's crazy stuff. I don't think teams will be ready for that."

But Weeden's arm doesn't make him a slam dunk success in Holgorsen's spread offense.

"If you take a list of characteristics of a quarterback, arm strength is like eight," Holgorsen said.

"Top of the list is stuff you can't teach."

"They're either smart or they're not," he said. "They're able to soak up the information or they're not. They're athletic or they're not. They either win a bunch of games or they don't... there is a bunch of things you can't fix."

Fortunately for OSU, Holgorsen ranks Weeden high in the other requirements. He's smart, he's athletic, he's a gamer — as the comeback win over Colorado showed — and his understanding of Holgorsen's system is getting better every day.

And Weeden has been working to improve his footwork, which Holgorsen believes is the most underrated attribute for a quarterback to have.

"Having escape ability is about your feet," Holgorsen said. "That's something that's overlooked at times. You look for a big guy who can throw it and is accurate with the ball but if he's a big lumbering guy back there it's not going to do you any good if the pocket's collapsing."

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