April 30, 2012
STILLWATER, Okla. - Oklahoma State teammates Brandon Weeden and Josh Cooper teamed up to baffle Big 12 defenses for two years, with Cooper partnering with two-time Biletnikoff Award winner Justin Blackmon to serve as Weeden's favorite targets in the passing game. Both Weeden and Cooper will compete in camp for the Cleveland Browns, with Weeden a first-round pick and Cooper a rookie free agent.
While Blackmon was the public face of the Cowboy receiving corps the last two seasons, Weeden connected with Cooper 139 times for 1,451 yards and eight touchdowns from 2010-11 in leading Oklahoma State to a 23-3 overall record during that span.
Cooper quietly finished his career with the fifth-most catches and eighth-most receiving yards in school history and Weeden had a big part in that.
"I'm excited that Josh Cooper is coming up to Cleveland with me," Weeden said. "The connection has been here at Oklahoma State for the last five years and he's a guy that I rely on because I know he's going to get open. He's a great route runner and is a tough guy who is extremely accountable. He's going to surprise a lot of people and do a lot of big things."
After being drafted Thursday night and appearing in front of the Cleveland media on Friday, Weeden was back in Stillwater for a Sunday workout with Cooper. He said workouts with Cooper are going to be a regular part of his time leading up to camp.
"I'm going to continue to work out with Coop and get in the weight room, get in the play book and get a feel for the offense - get a grasp of it," Weeden said. "Just getting prepared. My wife is worried about where we are going to live, so we're going to take care of that. I'll get focused on what's coming up. This is a big few weeks of our lives and we're excited about it."
Cooper drew attention from multiple NFL teams as a player who has a knack for finding the open space in defenses and moving the chains. He said the Browns were a good fit for what he brings, and that he was in contact with Weeden late in the draft when it became clear that he may go undrafted.
"It was exciting to hear from Brandon," Cooper said of how his Saturday unfolded. "He actually texted me and said that the G.M. and the head coach want me up there if I don't get drafted. I figured that was the place for me, since I didn't get drafted."
His chemistry with Weeden was evident during his time at Oklahoma State and could very well give him an advantage when it comes to performing well at camp.
"Starting off on the scout team together and gradually working our way up helped form that bond we have on the field," Cooper said. "It took us a few years to get that formed, but once we did, we were always clicking."
Particularly exciting for Cooper is the fact that offenses in the NFL have trended toward slot receivers and tight ends becoming more involved in recent years.
"It's the spread. It's what most college teams are moving to and it's what I've grown up doing pretty much my whole life," Cooper said. "Being in the slot, that's my home ground. I don't know what it's like being outside. I've never been out there. Just having that ability to work the middle and get open in the holes is a big thing."
Weeden also identified similarities between the Oklahoma State offense and what he has seen in the NFL and talked about how being the triggerman in OSU's system has prepared him for what's to come.
"You have to make all the throws. We did that at Oklahoma State," Weeden said. "At the next level, obviously the windows are smaller. Everybody's bigger and faster, so the windows are tighter. Fortunately, we've made all the throws here. In football, it's all the same route concepts but you've just got to learn the terminology. This terminology will be a lot different, but I'm excited about it. My game translates well and Coop will fit in just as well."