STILLWATER — Almost three decades have passed since a decision to start a true freshman quarterback at Oklahoma State divided the Cowboy locker room.
There were plenty of players on that '86 squad who were none too happy with the coaches' choice of Mike Gundy over Ronnie Williams. Some were veterans, upset that the youngster got the nod. Others were close with Williams.
Fast forward to this season, and the Cowboys are once again going to start a true freshman. What's more, Wes Lunt had been on campus about five minutes when he beat out J.W. Walsh and Clint Chelf for the job.
So, are there rifts like the ones evident back in the day?
“Zero,” offensive lineman Jonathan Rush said.
Talk to players on both sides of the ball, and you'll hear the same thing. There are no hurt feelings. There are no cliques grumbling that Walsh or Chelf should be the guy. With all the challenges that Lunt will face as an 18-year-old starting at quarterback for a big-time college football program, consider this one less hurdle to success.
A divided locker room can be a major problem.
So, why have these Cowboys remained harmonious when there could've been problems?
The reasons are all good signs for the Cowboys.
It starts with Lunt.
Since being named the starter the week after the spring game, those inside the program say he's done nothing to make anyone believe it was the wrong decision. He's shown his skills in summer workouts. He's proven his leadership in fall camp.
“Wes has gone and produced,” Rush said. “I guess it could've been a different story if he didn't come out and prove his worth.”
Of course, there's still a chance Lunt could crash and burn. I mean, he won't take a snap in a college football until Savannah State comes to town next week, so there is still so much that's unknown about Lunt.
But thus far, he's been successful.
All signs point to that continuing.
The mounting evidence that Lunt is the man for the job isn't the only reason this decision has caused no waves in the OSU locker room. You have to give credit to Walsh, Chelf and the rest of the Cowboys, too.
Walsh and Chelf were disappointed when they didn't get the starting job.