MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Sports

April 21, 2012

OSU plans to name starting quarterback Wednesday

— STILLWATER – The three ring circus of Chelf, Walsh and Lunt held its final performance on Saturday at Boone Pickens Stadium in Oklahoma State’s Spring Game.

With Clint Chelf, J.W. Walsh and Wes Lunt splitting time on the first team – as has been the case throughout the spring season – each quarterback got his final chance to showcase their talents in front of their coaches and more than 11,000 OSU fans.

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy wasn’t ready to name a starter following the final spring scrimmage, he reiterated his desire to name a starter before the summer.

“I’m meeting with the offensive staff on Wednesday, so it should be shortly after that we feel we’ll name a quarterback,” Gundy said. “... I have an opinion on what I think is best for our football team, and I want to hear what their opinion is. ... If they feel differently than I do, I want them to give me the reasons why and then we’ll make a decision and move forward.”

The Oklahoma State quarterback prospects will be battling their nerves while Gundy and staff determine who will be OSU’s next signal caller.

“It’s going to be nice to relax, but I’m going to be anxious to hear what they have to say and who they pick,” Chelf said. “But it’s nice to be done with spring and we got a lot better as a football team.”

Chelf may have the most to worry about, too. The Enid product had an average 18-for-31 (58 percent) day behind center with 212 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, the two freshmen showed flashes with Walsh going 16-for-27 with 310 yards and a pair of touchdown passes, and Lunt completing 15 of his  23 passes (65 percent) with two touchdowns.

“I came out here with the mindset that this is the final day of practice and that I needed to make sure this was my best day overall and I fell like I performed that way,” said Walsh, who connected with Kevin Johnson for a 70-yard touchdown with the second-team offense for Saturday’s longest play

It’s no wonder that Gundy said he felt Saturday was Walsh’s best performance of the spring.

“J.W. played well today. Without talking to Todd (Monken) and the offensive staff, and me just standing back not knowing what all the play calls were, I would say he had his best day,” Gundy said.

Gundy’s offensive coordinator Todd Monken shared the same sentiments about the redshirt freshman.

“It was definitely his best performance. I thought J.W. started the spring relatively strong, then in the middle of spring I thought he struggled for whatever reason – maybe put too much pressure on himself – and then I thought the last few days, including today, he played his best football,” Monken said.

As for the all-important time playing with the first team offense, it was Walsh leading in passing yards with 166 on 9 of 17 passing (53 percent) with a touchdown, while Chelf had 164 on 11-for-16 (68.8 percent) with two touchdowns and Lunt was 6-for-10 with 148 yards and two TDs.

“You are trying to mix twos and ones, so in my mind, you’re blurred a little bit – did they do well with the ones or was it with the twos?” Monken said. “So we’ll have to take a look at the film and really see.

“There is an eyeball test to everything. You just have to be careful of rushing to judgment without watching the tape. There’s a lot of beautiful girls out there with terrible personalities. So we’ll just have to see once we see the tape.”

Walsh and Chelf have a year of experience in Monken’s offensive scheme, but Gundy said he wouldn’t shy away from naming Lunt as the starter.

“It’s not the old adage of the contender beating the title holder for the belt. If he wins the job, than he should be the quarterback,” said Gundy, who started at quarterback as a freshman at OSU. “There’s three quarterbacks out there and none of the three have played, or have any experience, when the game counted. ... If the freshman is the best one, then so be it. He’s the guy who plays.”

Whomever it may be at the top of the depth charter later this week, Gundy said the fall is where he expects his soon-to-be first-year starter to show signs of improvement as he sees more snaps with the first string.

“Once we name the starter, that guy’s probably going to get 75 percent of the snaps. ... The point I’m trying to make is, once we name a starter, we’re going to expect that guy to improve considerably because he now has the reps and gets a feel for being in the game with certain players and the players get used to being out there with him,” Gundy said.

– Elmquist is a sports writer for the Stillwater NewsPress.

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