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Oklahoma State football: Cowboys' bye week will be used to make tweaks to offense

Offensive coordinator Todd Monken will adjust to take advantage of J.W. Walsh's strengths at quarterback
Oklahoman Published: September 16, 2012

STILLWATER — Todd Monken always liked the odd scheduling quirk that gave Oklahoma State a bye week both before and after its Big 12 opener against Texas.

The Cowboy offensive coordinator's logic was that four games in six weeks would allow an offense with a bevy of young skill players — most notably, of course, true freshman quarterback Wes Lunt — additional time to get comfortable before the meat of the season began.

Now that first open week before the No. 12 Longhorns come to Stillwater will be used for something different — to tweak the Cowboys' scheme to cater more to backup QB-turned-emergency starter J.W. Walsh.

“Obviously, we have to do things differently,” Monken said. “There's no way around it.”

The exact diagnosis of Lunt's left knee injury, which knocked him out of Saturday's 65-24 OSU victory on the sixth play of the game, is still unknown. But it's safe to assume that he probably will not be healed in time for the Texas game, meaning Walsh will likely make his first-career start against the Longhorns.

It's clear Lunt and Walsh have different strengths, and that Lunt is the better fit to run OSU's throw-first spread system. That's a large reason why Lunt ultimately won the starting quarterback job out of spring practice, and Walsh is the run-throw guy coaches have been building a package for to give defense a change-up look.

But changing quarterbacks does not mean the Cowboys can completely overhaul their offense, or dust off the Zac Robinson playbook. OSU's current spread is what Walsh has learned in his year-plus in Stillwater. And it's what the offensive linemen, receivers and running backs know, as well.

“It won't do any good just to create stuff and not have everybody be able to execute it,” Monken said. “You're better off doing what you do. Sure, so we take some things, take advantage of (Walsh) and maybe some other things, but you can't just wholesale change.

“Otherwise, you're a phony to what you believe in, because we won't be any good at it. You either believe in something — you can tweak — or you don't.”

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