Going back to Clint Chelf at quarterback was a gutsy decision by Cowboy coaches

Mike Gundy and offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich should be commended. They had to set aside their egos, after all, and when it comes to college football coaches, that's no small thing.
by Jenni Carlson Published: December 2, 2013

And when Walsh threw an ill-advised pass that was picked off by TCU in the end zone — his second of the first half — Gundy and Yurcich decided to give Chelf a shot.

Yurcich admitted they had no way of knowing things would turn out so well.

Chelf scoring four touchdowns at Texas Tech and Texas? Throwing for 370 yards against Baylor? Having an outside chance of being the All-Big 12 quarterback? How could the coaches have expected that?

“I don't have a crystal ball,” Yurcich said. “I try not to look too far ahead and into the future. It's just all about the next practice and the upcoming game and doing what you feel like it best for the offense.”

Still, having that philosophy and being willing to pull the trigger on a quarterback change are two different things. Making a switch at that position is loaded with potential land mines. It can hurt recruiting. It can mar locker room morale.

And in this case, it could've left Gundy and Yurcich and anyone else who signed off on Walsh with bruised egos.

Gundy acknowledged that they had to set all of that aside.

“Because at that position, it's going to be a critical decision with the team and with the fans and with the media,” he said. “That's the way it is. ... So, we really made the decision based on what we thought made us the best offense at that particular time, and we go with it from there on.”

Where they've gone is into hyperdrive, and it is largely because Chelf has been able to get the ball to those talented receivers. He had eight passes of 20-plus yards against Baylor, the most for the Cowboys since the UTSA games, and it came against the toughest opponent on the schedule.

The quarterback switch looks like a stroke of genius now, but at the time, it took something more from Gundy and Yurcich.

It took guts.

Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.

by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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