How Todd Monken leaving for Southern Miss affects the Oklahoma State quarterbacks
Oklahoma State’s 2013 starting quarterback situation was going to be intriguing heading into spring practice, whether offensive coordinator Todd Monken remained in Stillwater or left for a head coaching job. Wes Lunt, J.W. Walsh and Clint Chelf all had their good — and not-so-good — moments during the season in limited time leading the Cowboy offense.
But the news reported by my beat partner John Helsley today that Monken will be officially announced as the new head coach at Southern Miss on Tuesday could impact each Cowboy quarterback individually.
Let’s examine how:
Lunt came to OSU largely because of Monken, whose family is well-known in Lunt’s home state of Illinois. And it’s been a rocky few months for the true freshman, going from the opening night starter to third string after two injuries essentially derailed his first season. Even so, head coach Mike Gundy appears to be committed to running the Air Raid spread offense, and Lunt is still the ideal prototype to run that system.
Chelf graduates this month, meaning if he didn’t like his chances of taking OSU’s starting job in 2013, he could utilize the rule used recently by quarterbacks like Russell Wilson and Danny O’Brien of transferring to another school, enrolling in a graduate program that’s not offered at OSU, and immediately playing his final year of eligibility in 2013. And he could follow Monken to Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles used four starting quarterbacks this season, who combined to complete less than 49 percent of their passes for 1,913 yards, nine touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Chelf completed more than 58 percent of his throws for 1,391 yards, 12 touchdowns and six interceptions in seven games (four starts).
Walsh once appeared to be the most likely candidate to transfer following the 2012 season because his dual-threat skill set (and lack of arm strength/accuracy) doesn’t exactly mesh with the Cowboys’ system. But since returning from injury, Walsh has become a weapon in a special run-throw package that has expanded beyond short-yardage and goal-line plays. If Lunt and/or Chelf transfers, that could open the door for Walsh to start. Or even if he doesn’t win that job, this season has proven how valuable — and necessary — a quality backup can be.
In sitting out and redshirting the 2012 season after transferring from Arizona, Garman has become a bit of an afterthought. But, again, it’s unlikely that Lunt, Chelf and Walsh will all be back at OSU in 2013, which means the strong-armed Garman could get in the mix.
Luke Del Rio
Like Lunt, Del Rio largely committed to OSU because of Monken, who worked under Luke’s father, Jack Del Rio, when he was the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Del Rio’s commitment has already been downgraded to a “soft verbal” after taking a visit to Oregon State this fall, and Monken’s departure only reduces the chances that he actually makes it to Stillwater.
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