As you’ve probably been able to see from the stories and blogs the past day or so, I had a great chat this week with Derek Leonard, the high school coach of Wes Lunt.
When asking him what makes Lunt ready to start as a true freshman and quarterback the defending Big 12 champs, he pointed to some “spooky” similarities between Oklahoma State and Rochester (Ill.) High.
We already knew this. Lunt was always regarded as the best fit to run OSU’s spread offense, because he ran a similar system in high school. He’s shown an ability to quickly pick up the scheme, and coach Mike Gundy said last week that OSU has not had to “dumb down” the offense at all for the true freshman.
“Their offense is extremely fast, and we are extremely fast for a high school,” Leonard said. “As soon is the ball is blown dead, we go, ‘Hike.’”
Replacing a great
When Lunt took over as the varsity starter at Rochester, he was replacing Sean Robinson, a dynamic dual-threat QB who Leonard said had more than 30 Division I scholarship offers and ultimately wound up at Purdue. At OSU, Lunt is, of course, replacing the best quarterback in school history and an NFL starter in Brandon Weeden.
“He was so prepared and so ready,” Leonard said about Lunt’s first high school start. “I remember he was nervous. He’ll be nervous (Saturday). But he’s so even-keel and he was confident, though. I don’t think he was worried about replacing Sean, and I don’t think he’s worried about replacing Brandon Weeden.
“If I know Wes, and I do, he wants to be the best football player he can be for Oklahoma State, so his pressure is coming from that.”
Fiery offensive coordinator
Leonard knows OSU offensive coordinator Todd Monken well because of Monken’s roots in Illinois. And Leonard says their personalities are very comparable.
“Coach Monken I know is a fiery human being, and I am a fiery, emotional human being, also,” Leonard said. “Wes was good for me at times, because he would calm be down because I was so dang fiery.
“I think he’ll help Coach Monken. (Lunt is) so concentrated on what he’s doing, and mentally he’s a very smart kid. He’s going to be able to counter things, he’s going to be able come up with ideas on the field because for me he’s like a player-coach.”
Obviously, all of these similarities are upped a notch in the jump from high school to college football. But Lunt, in a sense, has been there before. That probably has helped in this transition and played a role in his success early on.