STILLWATER — Clint Chelf was doing his thing Saturday on the sideline — whatever it is that OSU backup quarterbacks do these days, now that they're no longer signaling in plays — when word came that he was going in against Kansas.
Time remained… in the first half.
“Being able to go in the first half,” Chelf said, “there's still people in the stands. Most of the times I go in, it's mop-up duty. Hand the ball off.
“Seeing time on the clock in the first half and they told me to warm up, it was like, ‘This is going to be fun.'”
Fun indeed, with the sophomore from Enid completing 14-of-21 passes for 206 yards and two touchdowns.
And a forecast of future fun?
As hard as it is to admit for OSU fans, their days cheering Brandon Weeden as a Cowboys quarterback are numbered, unless Jerry Jones gets serious about replacing Tony Romo this spring.
And in the moments not talking about this potentially special season and all that it may hold, occasionally chatter drifts to 2012, and who will be next, especially at quarterback.
So while the 70-28 blowout romp offered little in the way of drama, it did offer opportunity for Chelf, in his advance bid to stake a claim on the job for next fall.
Cowboys coach Mike Gundy said after the game that when he thinks of Chelf, for now he thinks of him as the 2012 quarterback.
“He's starting to earn his stripes,” Gundy said. “He's worked at it, he studies the game. His demeanor is good. He just needs to play. He needs experience.
“He needs to be able to distribute the ball in the correct way, get it out there. He's getting better, he really is.
“There will be a time when he'll have to do it when it's all on him.”
Chelf wasn't alone in the opportunity line.
All told, 78 Cowboys got on the field, including several who make fans' hearts go all aflutter, like running backs Herschel Sims and Desmond Roland and wideout Josh Stewart – all freshmen who could help Chelf keep the offense rolling down the road.
“For a lot of your players, it's an audition for the future,” said OSU offensive coordinator Todd Monken.
And for all of them, playing time is the payoff for all the work spent preparing spring, summer, winter and fall.
“A lot of young men that give a lot to our football team had a chance to get out there and play in front of their moms and dads,” Gundy said. “That's really a neat day.”
Sims, a heralded recruit who has been banged up publicly bummed out, made his debut, running seven times for 22 yards and a touchdown.
“He got healthy,” Monken said. “And I think he realized a little bit that if you really want to play, you have to compete.”
Roland ran for 27 yards on seven carries, while Stewart caught five passes for 64 yards.
None of the backups disappointed, most notably Chelf.
And Monken admitted he was most on the spot.
Monken's message to the backup: “‘OK, Clint, go in there and run it. Forget just your throws, how was your body language, your mannerisms? Did the guys respect you? When they look at you, do they see you as that guy? That's the most important thing. Do the guys believe in you as that guy?'”
Chelf wants to be that guy; envisions himself as that guy.
“Going in for the first half of a Big 12 game, it's against their starters still,” Chelf said. “It's good experience and to know that, hey, you can compete with those guys.
“The guys around me did just a great job. The O-line, I didn't get touched. And the receivers made great catches. It was good for everybody. They're guys I'm going to be playing with in the future, so it's valuable experience.”