Comparisons to Brandon Weeden aren’t necessarily viewed as compliments.
The former Oklahoma State quarterback is viewed as a bust since he entered the NFL as a first-round pick in 2012. Regardless, Texas defensive coordinator Vance Bedford compared current Oklahoma State sophomore quarterback Mason Rudolph to Weeden on Wednesday.
“He knows who his receivers are,” Bedford said. “He knows what his abilities are, and that’s why they’re having success this year, because of what he’s done so far this season.”
Rudolph heads to Austin with 947 passing yards, five touchdowns and one interception through three games. He’s accumulated as many yards and almost as many touchdowns as he did all of last season.
“He’s a different quarterback from a year ago,” Bedford said. “He’s more mature, he makes the throws, he doesn’t panic.”
Rudolph will attempt to counter the energy and production from Longhorns redshirt freshman quarterback Jerrod Heard, who has energized the team and fans in his two career starts. Darrell K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium won’t be packed Saturday afternoon. There are still 15,000 unsold tickets, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be shaking.
“It’s obviously going to be a hostile environment, and we’ll see how our guys will adapt to that,” Rudolph said. “I think it’s going to be a tough road game.”
Rudolph hopes to lead the Cowboys to a fourth-straight win at Austin, just like he’s led Oklahoma State to a 3-0 start and a No. 24 ranking. His latest gem came in a 69-14 win over UTSA. Rudolph completed 17-of-23 passes for 280 yards and two touchdowns.
“He was very consistent,” offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich said. “He took what the defense gave him, didn’t force the ball down field, his decision-making was good, and that’s what we expect from him every week.”
Rudolph has come a long way since he was stripped of his redshirt his freshman year due to an injury to then-starting senior quarterback Daxx Garman. His relationship with Yurcich helped his transition as a starter this year. They spent time in the film room so Rudolph could read coverages, advance his offensive repertoire and mature from the spring. Oklahoma State’s offense guided him to Stillwater, even though he had offers from LSU and Virginia Tech.
“I thought it would have been a great transition from high school to college with the playmakers that they had, and Coach and Coach Yurcich both played a big role in that,” Rudolph said in a Q&A series called Inside The Helmet. “The relationship that I had with Coach Yurcich had a big pull.”
Rudolph’s teammates will gravitate toward him Saturday afternoon. He came out of nowhere, just like Weeden did, according to Bedford.
Three years later, Weeden is the Dallas Cowboys’ backup. Rudolph isn’t the Cowboys’ backup — he’s their up-and-comer.