Berry Tramel

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Oklahoma State football: Has Clint Chelf played the best?

by Berry Tramel Published: November 13, 2012

The occasional OSU quarterback mystery has deepened. Gone from a choice of two to a choice of three. Clint Chelf’s excellent performance against West Virginia — with Wes Lunt and J.W. Walsh on the sideline, cleared to play but after a week of limited practice time — has turned this into a three-man derby.

I have no idea which way Mike Gundy will go Saturday against Texas Tech. There was talk that Chelf was the best choice for Saturday, that if Lunt comes back now and doesn’t do well, it could be a confidence-buster. I suppose there’s some merit to that.

Oklahoma State quarterback Clint Chelf throws a pass during the second half of an NCAA college football game against West Virginia in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012. Chelf threw for 292 yards and four touchdowns as Oklahoma State won 55-34.. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
Oklahoma State quarterback Clint Chelf throws a pass during the second half of an NCAA college football game against West Virginia in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012. Chelf threw for 292 yards and four touchdowns as Oklahoma State won 55-34.. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)

Of course, just beating Tech is reason enough to play the best guy. With the naked eye, I’d probably rank the quarterbacks this way: 1. Walsh; 2. Chelf; 3. Lunt. That’s just based on how they’ve played, and admittedly, the only Cowboy game I really saw none of was Kansas, when Walsh did not play well.

So rather than guess, or rather than go painstakingly through the game tape, which the coaches no doubt will do, I decided to go straight to the results. How have the quarterbacks done in games? How have they moved the offense. How have they produced?

I threw out the Savannah State game, because that doesn’t count for anything. That leaves the quarterbacks with these games:

Lunt: Arizona, TCU and 5/8 of Kansas State, before his injury.

Walsh: Louisiana-Lafayette (with Chelf in mopup relief), Texas, Kansas and Iowa State.

Chelf: 3/8 of Kansas State, plus West Virginia.

Lunt got a porous defense (‘Zona) and a tough defense (KSU). Walsh went against a good defense (Iowa State) and mediocre defenses (Lafayette, Texas, Kansas).

Chelf went partially against a good defense (KSU) and a bad defense (West Virginia).

So how did they do? Let’s check it out by possessions. How have they produced.

Lunt has quarterbacked 38 possessions (again, not counting Savannah State). Those 38 possessions have resulted in nine touchdowns, seven field goals, nine turnovers, 11 punts and two fourth-down failures. That’s 32.9 percent efficiency, counting a touchdown as a total success and a field goal as a partial success.

Walsh has quarterbacked 46 possessions. Those 46 possessions have resulted in 17 touchdowns, eight field goals, four turnovers, 12 punts, two fourth-down failures and three missed field goals. That’s 45.7 percent efficiency.

Chelf has quarterbacked 20 possessions. Those 20 possessions have resulted in eight touchdowns, four field goals, three turnovers and five punts. That’s 50 percent efficiency.

So in results, they rank this way: 1. Chelf; 2. Walsh a close second; 3. Lunt a distant third.

Now, if someone wants to throw out Lafayette, too, I’m all aboard. The Ragin’ Cajuns dang near beat Florida last Saturday, but they were totally overmatched the day they came to Stillwater. If you want to limit the discussion to just Big 12 and fell0w-major conference schools (Arizona), fine by me.

That doesn’t change Lunt’s efficiency at all. He’s still at 32.9 percent.

But Walsh’s efficiency drops to 36.1 percent, considering he had a monster game against the Cajuns (seven TD drives in 10 possessions). However, Chelf’s efficiency stays at 50 percent, since had just two possessions (with one touchdown) against Louisiana-Lafayette.

“Clint has been in for 51/2 quarters, and his experience has been evident in that he makes fewer mistakes than the other guys,” Gundy said. “Blurred is probably a good description of Clint playing better than we would have anticipated, or at that point he wouldn’t have been third-team. I don’t know any other way to put it. We’ve been wrong before in situations. I’ve mentioned before how much admiration I have for Clint in the way he’s handled this situation for nine months now. It’s not an easy task for us, but I’d rather be in this situation than looking for a guy to go out there and make a play.”

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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