SAN ANTONIO - As the hours melt away before what could be the last game for Brandon Weeden at Oklahoma State, he doesn't need to be reminded about how lucky he has been when it comes to the world of athletics.
"Oh trust me, I've thought about it all the time," says Weeden of how he's lived two boyhood dreams already by playing professional baseball and major college football. "People remind me of it. They'll tell me that all the time: 'How lucky you are, can you imagine being in that situation when you were 10 years old?' And I can't imagine. I've been able to experience a lot of things that a lot of 27-year-olds haven't and trust me I'm very fortunate and I don't take it for granted. I think there's a lot of people out there that would love to be in my shoes as far as the stuff I have experienced. Sometimes I have to pinch myself and remember that I'm very fortunate to be in the position I am."
That's putting it lightly. Not only was he fortunate enough to play with future stars headed to The Show, he has played with some amazing college footballers bound for the NFL.
Not bad for a guy who rose out of depth chart purgatory to pass for 4,037 yards, 32 touchdowns and a 67 percent completion percentage in his first season as starter for the Pokes.
"This is probably the most fun I've had playing any sport up until this point," Weeden said. "It's a fun ride and, speaking for everybody else, we don't really want it to end."
Offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen said Weeden only got better as the year went along. However, that improvement didn't come without some bumps along the way.
"There was plenty of times early where I was ready to kill him," Holgorsen said. "He wasn't very experienced early. I mean, the guy had played one half of football in the previous seven years or whatever it was. So the fact that he improved so much is something I was pretty proud of. There was a point in that A&M game in the second quarter where I was pretty uneasy about what he was doing out there. Then he settled down in the second half. A lot of the stuff he did bad in the first half he did right in the second half and he just learned from that and just kept getting better from there."
The future West Virginia coach believes the win over the Aggies was a turning point for the Edmondite.
"I think so, because he could have tanked it at halftime," he said. "He was getting sacked, he was missing reads, he was throwing bad balls and we just calmed him down at halftime and he went out there and played his butt off in the second half. That game and the Kansas State game were the two games I could kind of pinpoint tons of improvement."
Weeden's surprising season matches that of his team. Before the year, not much was expected from the Cowboys - or Weeden. Yet, the curtain on 2010 is falling with both in lofty positions and Weeden aiming to get OSU an 11th win for the first time ever. He said reaching that plateau would be special for him.
"I've been here the last four years and the teams that have come through here have had some guys who could really play who weren't able to accomplish that," Weeden said. "Just to be the team that has a chance to wind up doing that would be pretty special. I think the most special thing is just proving all the people wrong. As a player it's hard not to listen to what people are telling you all the time. To go out there and prove them wrong, it's bittersweet. So it'll be fun. As a program, we need this 11th win. It would be a big-time win for us."
Would a win make it easier for Weeden to bolt and try his chances at the NFL? Or would it leave him thirsting for something bigger in Stillwater in 2011? While he says he's not too worried about his eventual decision, he does admit he has a unique case compared to most potential early jumpers.
"Yeah, more than your normal junior or senior coming out, no question," he said. "But those are things that people I will need to talk to will have answers for me. I don't have all the answers, so I've got to go find someone that does. Whether its coach (Rob) Glass or coach (Mike) Gundy or guys within our system or whoever it may be, we'll see what happens. I've definitely got those factors going against me. I don't feel like my age is an issue to be honest with you. My body feels good, I don't feel like 28-years-old. My body is healthy and I haven't taken punishment the last (few years). I feel like I'm in a good situation."
A good situation that could get even better with a win tonight.