Oklahoma State football: Wes Lunt starting means many things
The news is in: True freshman Wes Lunt is Oklahoma State’s starting quarterback. The guy who is one month and one day shy of his high school graduation now quarterbacks one of college football’s most potent offensive traditions. Lunt has won a derby that included junior-to-be Clint Chelf and redshirt freshman J.W. Walsh. Here are my thoughts:
* Mike Gundy and Todd Monken both said they didn’t want to get away from the offensive identity started by coordinator Dana Holgorsen in January 2010 and established by quarterback Brandon Weeden the last two years. And they lived up to it. Walsh, an effective run/pass threat, would have harkened back to the Zac Robinson/Larry Fedora style of offense. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But the classic, pocket passing offense perfected by Weeden is what Gundy said he wanted to continue. Selecting Lunt shows Gundy meant it.
* Gutsy, gutsy decision. Not too many coaches would go with a true freshman quarterback. But if you believe he’s the best, it’s the proper decision.
* Funny timing. Naming a starting quarterback on the day of the NFL Draft, when one of your superstar players (Justin Blackmon) will get picked in the first few selections and another (Weeden) could go later in the first round. Seems like OSU is stealing some thunder from its own ballplayers. And I say it’s Lunt stealing the thunder. I love the NFL Draft, but OSU naming a quarterback is bigger than where Blackmon and Weeden call home the next few years.
* This is a pick for the future as much as the present. If Lunt holds the job, he will enter the 2013 season as one of the Big 12′s most experienced quarterbacks. OU’s Landry Jones, K-State’s Collin Klein, West Virginia’s Geno Smith and Texas Tech’s Seth Doege all will be seniors in 2012. The Cowboys, defending Big 12 champs, don’t see 2012 as a rebuilding year, but it most definitely is a reloading year. If the Cowboys can position themselves to be fully-geared for 2013, they can live with whatever mistakes Lunt makes as a freshman in 2012.
* Weeden was born in October 1983. Lunt was born in October 1993. Ten years apart, yet a direct handoff of the OSU offense.
* J.W. Walsh absolutely will be a part of the OSU offense in 2012. I expect a substantial short-yardage package for Walsh. That was the only knock on Weeden. The Cowboys weren’t great in short-yardage or goal-line situations with the Weeden spread.
* Clint Chelf has a decision to make. Transfer and play at a smaller school, or stick with it at OSU. You never know when opportunity might come. But even being a career backup at a Big 12 school, with a degree from Oklahoma State and a mighty good name, stands for something.
* Funny, but Gundy’s stated reason for picking a quarterback this spring — so the Cowboys would have an established leader in summer workouts — doesn’t really mesh with this decision. It seems hard to picture the Cowboys rallying around an 18-year-old, at least in the summer. Guys like Shaun Lewis and Lane Taylor and Joseph Randle, be on standby.
* Lunt’s first road game will be Sept. 8 at Arizona. Don’t you know Gundy now wishes OSU had a more severe test for Sept. 1. Savannah State will not come close to replicating what Lunt will see out of Pac-12 athletes.
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