By Anthony Slater – Aslater@opubco.com – @anthonyVslater
Walsh was sacked in the first quarter, on Oklahoma State’s second drive, and came up hobbled. But the hard-nosed freshman limped it off, telling anyone who would listen that he was fine.
“It was only a couple plays later that I called a quarterback draw,” Monken joked on Monday. “So obviously I’m not very sensitive to his issues of having an injury.”
Walsh played approximately 70 plays on the season-ending knee injury, throwing for a career-high 415 yards in a win, earning the admiration of teammates and coaches.
“I asked him how he was doing (over the headset) and he said, ‘It hurts a little, but I’m fine,’ ” Monken said. “I mean there’s certain makeups of kids that makes him who he is. Last spring, you get here and he’s running with the wide receivers out there in winter conditioning, trying to come in first against the widouts. Guy hurts his knee and keeps playing. Why’s that? Because he’s a tough-minded guy, he wants to be first and he wants to win the job. You’ve got to respect a guy like that. So that’s what’s most frustrating is a guy who wants to prove he should be our guy, is so willing to do it and a coach’s kid and you feel for him.”
Brief controversy surrounded the timetable of the injury Sunday night, after Mike Gundy announced it would end Walsh’s season.
J.W.’s father, John, told a few media outlets that it would only force his son to miss 3-5 weeks. Taking into account rehab and strength buildup, that would likely force Walsh to miss the rest of the regular season anyway.
But Monken said the shortened recovery stint predicted by J.W.’s father was not a surprise, considering the family.
“Well, I’m not a doctor. I played him for three quarters after he got banged up,” Monken joked. “But I just think that goes to, that’s a tough family… That’s a coach, saying my son’s going to get it done. That’s not unlike a dad. That’s J.W., that’s what you get with that kid and that family. That didn’t surprise me when he said that. Doctors could say a year and he might say he’ll be back next week.”
But regardless of the exact time, OSU will be without Walsh for the foreseeable future, meaning the attention turns back to another freshman quarterback, Wes Lunt, who also suffered a fairly serious knee injury earlier this season.
But a recently revealed ankle sprain seems to be the issue bothering Lunt the most on his road back to the starting job.
“The way that he got to where he’s at right now, like any quarterback, is by reps and building that confidence and having success,” Monken said. “I think that’ll build as he gets back in there and has a feel for being in the pocket with the injury. It’s no difficult than rolling your ankle jumping for a rebound in basketball. Takes awhile to get back in there and jump again, always feeling like you’re going to fall on someone’s ankle and roll it again. He’s got to get comfortable with it. But I do think he has a belief in the system and I do think he has a belief in himself. So I think that bodes well and he’s an even-keeled guy.”