Gina Mizell: Expect OSU's Wes Lunt to start against TCU

The Oklahoman's Gina Mizell took questions from readers in today's Oklahoma State Power Lunch Chat. Join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on NewsOK.com/Sports. Here's a transcript of today's chat:
Oklahoman Modified: October 24, 2012 at 4:28 pm •  Published: October 24, 2012
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The Oklahoman's Gina Mizell took questions from readers in today's Oklahoma State Power Lunch Chat. Join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on NewsOK.com/Sports. Here's a transcript of today's chat:

Gina, you seem very concerned about whether Lunt can play this weekend. I don't know the status of Lunt's leg, but wouldn't a 100% Chelf be a better option than an 80% Lunt? Chelf has always looked solid when he has been on the field. A solid QB should be able to beat TCU if our defense plays well.

Does Lunt start Saturday?

Give us a prediction for the TCU game if Lunt starts and another for if Chelf starts?

I'm throwing all the Lunt/Chelf questions in right away, just to address them all at once ...

Not sure where you get me being "very concerned" about Lunt being able to start this weekend or not. I'm just going off what the coaches tell me — that Lunt and Chelf have/will split the reps in practice this week and that coaches will decide following today's practice who will start. It's hard to tell if an 80 percent Lunt or a 100 percent Chelf is better, because Chelf has never played in meaningful game time. And Lunt has only played in one meaningful game. Todd Monken has made great points the last couple weeks about that Lunt isn't just going to come back and be the guy he was before he got hurt against ULL, because he developed that accuracy and such through the spring and summer and fall camp and first three weeks of the regular season. There will be some rust, especially for a true freshman. That said, before Lunt got hurt, Chelf was only taking three reps during team period. So he hasn't gotten the consistency for an extended period of time, either.

All that said, I think either QB can be successful this week if they can take care of the football, hand it to Joe Randle and then distribute effectively to the playmakers. Lunt is obviously the long-term answer, but I think Chelf can win a game for you, as well. Chelf also brings more mobility, an element to the offense that was installed more with Walsh. But who does my gut say starts? Lunt.

Are there still enough players available to field an offense?

Short answer: Yes.

Is there any possibility that the Walsh injury is an elaborate hoax? Have you personally seen Lunt walking? (Hitch in his giddy up?)

Elaborate hoax? That's a bit of a stretch. The only controversy/questions surrounding Walsh's injury was the timetable, based on his father telling reporters it would only be 3-5 weeks. But Gundy stressed Monday that it would be very, very difficult for Walsh to be back in the next six weeks, which would put us at the end of the regular season. And Yes, I have personally seen Lunt walking — so have thousands of others who attended the Kansas and ISU games, where Lunt was dressed and warmed up. Lunt has practiced the last couple weeks. I saw him walk off the field last week.

Any news on whether Tracy Moore/Isaiah Anderson/Jeremy Smith will be available for the game on Saturday?

Jeremy Smith would be the guy I'm most confident about playing. He has gotten in the game the last two weeks ... but then limped off after one carry. Seems to be tough for him to shake that ankle injury. Next on the confidence scale would be Anderson. If he played any other position but receiver, he'd probably be ready to go, but the finger is kind of important when catching the football. I'm not optimistic at all about Tracy Moore playing Saturday.

Are coaches worried about Joe Randle’s workload as far as carries?

How much does the offense miss Jeremy Smith? His change of pace and strength around the goal line sure would be nice to have back.

These are also kind of similar questions, so I'll address together ...

I actually talked to Jemal Singleton about Joe's workload last night. He wants four backs to contribute, which obviously hasn't happened the last three games. But you kind of have to handle the hand you've been dealt. They definitely want Jeremy Smith back soon and love the 1A, 1B back system. But Randle likes carrying the heavy load, and sometimes a back gets better as the game goes along. One element of Randle's game that is severely underrated is his durability. *tease to a story set for The Oklahoman sometime this week*

Do you think Lunt being injured during his senior year of high school and returning to finish the year helps him at all in his current situation?

Perhaps, just because he's gone through a pretty significant injury (a broken foot) and come back and been wildly successful. He knows how hard rehab can be, but that the rewards are worth it. It sounds like he's done a good job during the recovery process.

Was Chelf getting as many reps as he will be this week when J.W. Walsh was QB?

Likely not, since Chelf was definitely the No. 2 then. If there was any uncertainty about who would start with yesterday's practice and today's, I could see a scenario where Lunt and Chelf would both get first-team reps.

Have you noticed a trend that OSU has played its two worst games in its two road games this season? Not a good sign when 2/3 road games are against the two best teams in the Big 12.

Sure I've noticed that. Playing on the road is not easy. Arizona can be a rowdy environment — plus that was the first road game of the year and Lunt's first road test ever. The bad weather was obviously a factor at Kansas. But one of the biggest differences between good teams and great teams is the ability to play well and win on the road. OSU is 1-1 on the road, with two subpar performances. And you're right, the road games at K-State and at OU coming up will be extremely tough.

If you had to go out on a limb and guess, who do you think will start this weekend?

At kicker/punter? Quinn Sharp. Oh, I think you mean QB. Wes Lunt.

(Sorry in advance for my attempt at being funny.)

What is Calvin Barnett's status as far as injury or any possible suspension from his accident?

Barnett has not been charged with anything. That's what we know for sure right now.

Lunt needs to play and the offense is better with him vs. Walsh. But who is going to catch it? Will Tracy Moore play? And what about the young freshman receivers Curry, Shepard who we heard so much about? I heard Curry is out for the year, but I missed that.

As mentioned above, I would be way more optimistic about Isaiah Anderson playing than Tracy Moore. Yes, Gundy announced Monday that Curry is out for the year with a shoulder injury (news is in today's paper and currently on the OSU blog). The other Moore — Charlie — has really come through during the last two games, with two long TD grabs. Josh Stewart has been steady, other than the fumble near the goal line last week. Blake Jackson made some plays. Austin Hays had a bad game against ISU with the drops, but I think he's going to be a nice player. Someone like Torrance Carr, who is back from injury, might need to step up. Same with another youngster like Sheperd, as you mentioned.

Every game Texas plays makes OSU’s loss to them look worse. However, OSU would have outscored them with Lunt, and Texas’ offense came on big plays vs. OSU’s pathetic cornerbacks. That said, I am offended at how "off the radar" OSU is and still believe that every game left is winnable. Do you feel a sense that the team is offended with the "disrespect"?

The "disrespect" card, like the "revenge" card last week against ISU, kind of depends on who you talk to. Different guys are motivated by different things. Do players/coaches think they have a chance to win every game left? Absolutely. The OU and K-State games on the road will be very, very tough. But I agree that every other game is extremely winnable ... or losable. That's life in this unpredictable Big 12.


by Gina Mizell
OSU Sports Reporter
Gina Mizell joined The Oklahoman in August of 2011 as the Oklahoma State beat writer, where she covered the Cowboys' historic run to the Big 12 championship and Fiesta Bowl in her first season on the job. Before arriving in Stillwater, Gina was...
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