STILLWATER — Mike Gundy isn't interested in pulling back the curtain on the specifics of Oklahoma State's quarterback switch earlier this season.
Neither is Mike Yurcich.
But during a week in which the Cowboys are expected to savor some sweet spoils, the decision to pull the trigger on the Clint-Chelf-for-J.W.-Walsh switch needs to be celebrated. OSU wouldn't be widely favored to beat its Bedlam rival if not for the change. It wouldn't be in line to win the Big 12 for the second time in three years without the move.
Gundy, Yurcich and Co. 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.
Walsh, remember, was their guy. Yes, Chelf started the opener against Mississippi State, but it was clear by the way he was yanked after only a couple series that Gundy and Yurcich always intended for Walsh to be the starter.
Chelf getting the starting nod in the opener was like a lifetime achievement award.
Thanks for all you've done as a Cowboy, now go stand over there.
And for awhile, Walsh made the coaches look brilliant. Two touchdowns against Mississippi State. Four touchdown passes against Texas-San Antonio.
Then came the clunker at West Virginia, followed by a mostly off day against Kansas State.
Gundy talked Monday at his weekly press conference about how quarterbacks always take heat when an offense struggles but how in the Cowboys' case, they had all sorts of issues back then. An offensive line that was being shuffled. A running game that was anemic. A rookie offensive coordinator who was still getting his bearings.
All of those were problems.
But quarterback play was, too.
With the exception of the UTSA game, Walsh was wildly inconsistent throwing the ball. Great one minute. Horrid the next.
This offense's biggest strength is its wide receivers. It is a bunch with great talent and phenomenal depth, but with Walsh, the receivers weren't consistently getting the ball. Guys like Josh Stewart and Tracy Moore and Charlie Moore and Jhajuan Seales and Marcell Ateman just had to get the ball in their hands for the Cowboys to be at their best.
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.