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December 27, 2010

Stay or Go? Questions surround Blackmon, Weeden

SAN ANTONIO - To paraphrase The Clash, should they stay or should they go?

The question of if Justin Blackmon and Brandon Weeden should come back for another year at Oklahoma State or look ahead to the literally-greener pastures of the NFL was batted around at Monday's press conference, which focused on the Cowboy offense.

No doubt, the question is a big one to tackle and the answer is hard for anyone facing that situation to come to a conclusion on. After all, there's a lot of stake for a player, as they have to consider where they could go in the draft, how much they could stand to make or if it's just too early to make the jump. Another tricky factor for potential early departures this year is the stormy NFL labor situation, which is unsettled and could seriously impact the 2011 season. How does that situation change things? Is it easier to come back to school and avoid that, or take the chance that things will get worked out before next fall? In that respect, an already tough situation for potential early departures just got that much tougher.

That leads us to the two Pokes in question, Blackmon and Weeden. A wonderful combo in 2010, the pair made amazing connections and guided OSU to the top spot in the nation in total offense after an unexpected 10-2 campaign. With the Alamo Bowl against Arizona coming up on Wednesday, the two have one last chance to put together a big game in college - or set the table for a big run in 2011.

So, what will it be, boys?

As of this moment, they're keeping mum on the topic, though speculation abounds from all corners as to what the pitch-and-catch combo will do after the bowl game. They both might already know what they'll do, they might not or they might be hem-hawing on it. At this point, those in Orange Country and the rest of the college football world are in the dark.

While it might be a lot of looking for water with a divining rod, Weeden might have given some hints as to what's next. Or not. In one exchange he had with a reporter about if this could have been the big year for OSU football and if they left anything on the table, he used past-tense phrasing to describe playing at OSU, then followed up with a line that could suggest he'll be back in Stillwater another year.

"I think we accomplished a lot of goals that we set before the year," Weeden said. "And I'll look back and say I was able to play with guys like Kendall Hunter and Justin Blackmon and Orie Lemon and guys like that. It's just amazing - these guys are going to play for a long time. Just to (stand) in the same huddle as them and share the same locker room with them for the last four or five years, it'll be special."

After a follow-up question, he said the following:

"There's always next year. If Justin comes back and we've got guys who can step up. We're still a young football team, so I think, I don't know, I think this program is headed in the right direction. They're getting freshmen and sophomores that have come in are very athletic. And it's not going to go back down anytime soon."

To be fair to Weeden, the above answers weren't in response to pointed questions about whether he would return or not next season. Even so, the exchange was interesting to chew on.

As for Blackmon? He was asked pointedly about coming back and kept his replies short.

In reply to a question about whether a new offensive coordinator hire to replace Dana Holgorsen would impact what he does, he said the following: "I don't think that would affect a decision I'd make. I'm just waiting until after this game to think about it."

And would his decision hinge on whether or not Weeden would come back? "It would be the same with that. We'll see what happens."

Weeden did say, however, he would discuss the matter with Blackmon before he came to a final decision.

"I won't lie to you - I'll talk to him before I make a decision," he said. "I'll feel him out to see what he's thinking. But up until this point I haven't said a word to him about it. We've got way more important stuff on our plate right now. He'll shoot me straight if I ask him. He'll make a decision one way or the other and I'll do the same."

Speaking for himself, Weeden added that he thinks he's in a win-win situation when it comes down to going pro or staying at OSU.

"Whenever I get my evaluation back I will sit down with the people I feel like I need to sit down with - obviously my family and stuff like that - and weigh my pros and cons," he said. "I'm in a win-win situation. If I decide to do the NFL route, it must be for a good reason. If not, come back and have another fun season next year at Oklahoma State. That's why I'm not really stressing out about it. I'm in a win-win situation. I feel like I have a pretty good predicament on my hands. So it won't be a tough decision.

"I have to look at the other quarterbacks, my opportunity, where I feel like I feel as far as other guys in the country and then go from there. Until all is said and done, that's the only scale I really have. It's crazy that basically after this game we'll have about 16 days to make a decision. But that's part of it. Like I said, I'm not the least bit stressed about it, I'm not worried about it one bit. It's a good situation to be in for myself."


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