In a bit of a surprise move by Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, starting quarterback Clint Chelf spoke to the media Friday afternoon following the Cowboys’ first bowl practice.
They were Chelf’s first public comments since re-taking the starting job in mid-October. Gundy originally said Chelf — and all quarterbacks — would be off limits until after the bowl game.
With so much time in between interviews, a wide range of topics were covered with Chelf.
On what the last two months have been like as the starter:
They’ve been exciting. We finally kind of got a roll as an offense and put a few nice games together and had some big wins. Obviously, the season didn’t end how we wanted it to, but looking back at it, overall I think it’s a successful season for us and this last month and a half has been a blast. Hanging out with all these guys for the last few months, I’m extremely, extremely excited about the opportunity that we have to continue to play. But just reflecting on the last month, it’s been so much fun. You can’t even really put it into words. It’s just something we’ll all remember forever.
On what he’s improved during his time as the starter:
It really had to do with getting in a rhythm, establishing who we are as an offense after a few disappointing outings. That really got us going and the coaches just kept putting together, week after week, good game plans that we executed. Obviously, having Des, who was running the game really well, and then the quarterback read game off of that and then the passing game off of that. Once we all kind of just got in a flow and a rhythm of when they were gonna call certain plays, we got kind of a better feel for Coach Yurcich and the offense started clicking. That’s one thing that I’ll remember is the roll we got on. Going to Tech, to Texas, those are big wins and that’s something we’ll all be proud of.
On if regaining the starting job made everything else worth it:
Absolutely. Just going out there with your teammates and having fun. The beginning of the year, (I was) obviously disappointed, but that’s not something that I’ll remember. This last month is what we’ll all remember, so that obviously erases kind of the disappointment factor. I’m happy that I got to experience that with this group of guys, and especially the guys on offense.
On being replaced as the starter:
It’s an unfortunate experience to have to go through twice, but when it happened again, I knew exactly what I had to do, and I knew I had to be patient and, you know, wait for my opportunity and take advantage of it and that’s what I tried to do.
On if he thought another opportunity to start would come:
I did. I don’t know what it was. Nothing against J.W. (Walsh), nothing against anybody, I just felt that there wasn’t gonna end that way. I just felt that there was something inside of me that said that I would get another chance, and so I went with it. There’s not really a whole lot you can do your senior year other than hope for that, so that’s what I did, and I worked out.
On getting put back in against TCU:
We were sitting down at the phone and Steve Hauser, the signaler, came over and said, ‘Warm up, you’re going in.’ Immediately, obviously, that’s excitement, but the one thing that I’ll remember is going in and getting hit and throwing an interception the first play. I was like ‘Oh, man, this isn’t good.’ We rallied well. TCU was maybe one of the toughest defenses we’ve played. They had a good scheme. They had good secondary players and they played our receivers tight. They were a good team and we just had to go out and win that game at home. And so I tried to do as best I could with the limited reps and we came out with a victory and that’s all that matters.
On if, after struggling against Iowa State, he worried he could get benched again:
No, not really. Obviously, TCU week I was the backup quarterback (and) you don’t get as many reps with the first team. Over my career, it’s taken me a few games to get going. Especially at Iowa State, that was like trying to throw the ball in a tornado. You could tell on punts, kicks, the ball just floated. So it was tough. It was a tough environment. Just had to kind of figure out how to make the team better and move the chains and so (I) kind of leaned on my legs a little more in that game and got out of there with a victory. That’s something that’s tough to do up there. We obviously experienced a letdown in 2011, so we were happy with that win and I was happy with that win.
On becoming a threat to run the football:
It’s exciting. It’s fun to throw touchdown passes, but it’s a whole different thing to run one in, especially from a long ways out knowing that you carried the ball the whole time. So that’s exciting, something that I’ve always felt that I could do and that’s one of the things that Coach (Mike) Yurcich brings to the table is quarterback run game. So I’m thankful to have him and the schemes that he’s provided us with. Any time you can show another asset that you have, I think that’s something that’s exciting.
On what he’ll remember about the Baylor game:
The entire thing. I don’t know. That was just a fun experience. Anytime that you can have a big win like that, there’s not really one thing I can point to. Just maybe as much fun we had as a unit. We were really clicking that night. The defense was playing well. That might be the one thing I remember the most is how well our defense played shutting down their offense. I’ve got good friends on that side of the ball. Obviously I room with (linebacker Caleb) Lavey. And so that’s something we’ll always be able to talk about and that’s something I’ll remember is how well the defense played. We just got clicking on offense, and that’s what one of those things (where) it felt like whatever they called, it was gonna work.
On his catch in that game:
That was exciting. I didn’t even think about that. That was an exciting part. I wish I would have scored. I would have remembered it more if I would have scored. I got a little crap from my brother (former OSU receiver Colton Chelf) about not diving in the end zone or something.
On that Colton didn’t get into the end zone in overtime of the Fiesta Bowl:
Trust me. I told him.
On if the Baylor performance is one of the best moments of his career:
Here? Absolutely. Obviously statistically, that was probably my best game. So that’s something that I’ll remember, I guess, is just the team win and playing well. I’m not focused too much on my individual statistics, but winning the game and playing well, that’s something I’ll remember.
On how Walsh has handled the quarterback situation:
He’s doing well. I think he understands he has other opportunities ahead of him and he’s got to take advantage of those. I don’t think it’s hurting him at all. I think he’s understanding that there’s things that he can learn from. There’s things that I could learn from when he was playing. So I think he handled the situation really well. We both tried to help each other out as much as possible, and I think he’s excited for getting his opportunity in the future.
On the team’s response after the Bedlam loss and a few days off for finals:
It’s always tough to get back into the swing of things after you take a few days off, so that was to be expected. But I think the team, we’re gonna respond well. But at the end of the day, it’s the last game and you hate to lose it, especially to those guys. But you look back on the season, double-digit wins, that’s something to be proud of. So I think all the guys can hang their hat on that. And looking forward, we’ll be excited to play Missouri in the bowl game.
On if he’s thought about the fact that these are his last few weeks as part of this football program:
Not yet. That’s something I hadn’t really thought about. I’ve been pretty busy the last couple days. I’m sure it’ll set in towards the end of practice — when I’m done practicing here and we go to Dallas. But as of right now, I’m just trying to get back in the flow of things and help the team to get back and refocused.