A swarm of reporters surrounded J.W. Walsh during Oklahoma State's Cotton Bowl Media Day at AT&T Stadium Monday.
Walsh played his high school ball at nearby Denton Guyer, so the local interest certainly made sense. But it also marked the first time Walsh spoke publicly since Clint Chelf replaced him as starting quarterback in mid-October. Cowboy coach Mike Gundy put a media ban on all quarterbacks for much of the regular season.
How has Walsh handled the last couple months?
“Anytime you win games, there's no reason to be negative or be upset about anything,” Walsh said. “That's why it's the greatest sport on earth, because it's a team game and it's a team sport. For us to have success like we've been having, that's been the biggest key.”
Walsh said he doesn't remember much about the moment he was pulled after throwing two first-half interceptions against TCU — “it was a few months ago,” he said. But Chelf and Walsh are genuine friends, and both have said that's made it easier for them to support each other during another season with major quarterback changes.
Meanwhile, Walsh said he's continued to work on his game, focusing on his footwork, making the correct reads, understanding the playbook and becoming a more consistent passer.
Because after this season, Walsh will enter yet another quarterback derby with incoming freshman Mason Rudolph, junior Daxx Garman and redshirt freshmen Richard Lagow and Jake Hubenak.
And Walsh will still be ready if needed in the Cotton Bowl.
“The best part about it is we've been through it as much as possible so far,” Walsh said. “Everybody on the team's used to it and everybody on the team kind of knows how to adjust to it now.
“At this point, we're all just kind of prepared for whatever. As long as whoever's on the field is always prepared like they're the starter and prepared to play, then I think we'll have success as a football team.”
AS OSU ASSISTANTS, GUNDY AND HENSON DISCUSSED SPREAD OFFENSE
Gundy and Josh Henson will be on opposite sidelines Friday night, but for years, they were allies in the offensive room at OSU.
During the Les Miles era in Stillwater, Gundy was the offensive coordinator and Henson was the tight ends coach, and they had very similar ideas about offense.
Not that everyone agreed, though.
"We had a lot of discussions of what he and I thought would be productive some day in college football that would go on deaf ears with Les because it didn't involve two tight ends and a fullback," Gundy said, chuckling. "We joke about that now.