OSU football: Wes Lunt gives Cowboys hope and change they can believe in
OSU FOOTBALL — Talk to just about anyone affiliated with the Oklahoma State football team and they can tell you when they officially believed in Wes Lunt. For All-Big 12 running back Joseph Randle, it was an 80-yard touchdown drive against the Cowboys No. 1 defense in spring practice.
STILLWATER — Joseph Randle remembers when he first believed.
It happened during a spring practice, when Wes Lunt directed an 80-yard touchdown drive against Oklahoma State's first-team defense without throwing an incompletion.
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WES LUNT'S CAMPAIGN SLOGAN
“HOPE & CHANGE”
A slogan coined by President Barack Obama during his 2008 campaign applies to the new OSU quarterback. The Cowboys are forced to change signal-callers after Brandon Weeden moved onto the NFL. But, because on his big arm and mature personality, there's hope that Lunt will become the next great OSU quarterback to direct the Cowboys' prolific offense.
WES LUNT'S ENDORSEMENTS
* OSU coach Mike Gundy: “You really never know how a young man's going to play when the lights come on. But in our opinion, we feel like that he's the guy that gives us the best chance to move the ball, score points and win football games.”
* Rochester High School coach Derek Leonard: “He's a once-in-a-life quarterback. Oklahoma State (is) so lucky, because he's going to play on Sundays one day. I've seen a lot of high school quarterbacks, and I've never seen any of them throw the ball like him.”
* OSU wide receiver Tracy Moore: “Wes doesn't talk much. He's one of the guys that walks around with that same facial expression all day. So he doesn't tell you much how he feels, you can't really read him. But he is a guy that if he does throw an interception or a bad pass, he doesn't get his head down. He keeps his chin up and tries to throw it better next time.”
* OSU running back Joseph Randle: “Wes Lunt is a cool, composed customer. He keeps his calm. He's making progress every day. When you're so young and you have the arm strength, the talent is there. He just has to get the mental part of the game, and I think that's something he's been improving on since Day 1.”
“That's when I was like, ‘I don't see nobody else out here doing that,'” the Cowboy running back said. “That's when I knew.”
Moments like that give Randle hope during this change at quarterback in Stillwater. Hope that the Cowboys' up-tempo, pass-happy offense can transition from a 28-year-old in Brandon Weeden, who left OSU as the school's best signal-caller, to an 18-year-old in Lunt, who has never taken a college snap. Hope that Lunt can lead OSU's continued national rise as the Cowboys begin their Big 12 title defense.
“He's gonna be our guy for a long time around here,” Randle said.
But when Lunt arrived in Stillwater in January, there wasn't much hope he'd win the starting job. He was the long shot.
He was weeks removed from his senior season at Rochester (Ill.) High School, where he was setting state records but playing for a city with a population around 3,000. Gundy said Lunt didn't really belong in the competition, but would get a fair shot because fellow contenders J.W. Walsh and Clint Chelf were also inexperienced. Offensive coordinator Todd Monken went a step further, saying he would be “stunned” if Lunt earned the starting nod.
Throughout the spring, however, Lunt was the most consistent and made the fewest mistakes. His strong, accurate arm was the best fit for the Cowboys' spread system. And his composed demeanor reminded coaches and teammates of Weeden.
After those 15 practices, Monken and Gundy officially believed.
“He showed some signs of having some natural ability or would perform at times in scrimmages (and show) things that you can't coach,” Gundy said.
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