“The reality is that he really worked hard at it. He brought that to my attention a few weeks ago, ‘Hey, I've worked hard; I think I give us the best chance to win.'
“Which I respected he said that. I didn't agree with him.”
Not then, anyway.
Now? We'll see.
Cowboys coach Mike Gundy has retreated on revealing information on injuries, so who goes Saturday against West Virginia remains up in the air.
But if it's Chelf, he's ready.
“We've had a lot of injuries this year, and you've just got to be ready to go play,” Chelf said. “When they told me to warm up, some of the guys came over and told me that they had confidence in me and they were ready to go. So I said, ‘Let's go do it.'”
Long before Saturday, Chelf was preparing himself for the opportunity.
Chelf returned home to Enid when school was out and went to work on improving the things Monken outlined as his weaknesses.
“One thing (Monken) said was that I wasn't confident throwing the ball some places,” Chelf said in August. “So for three months in the summer, especially when I went home in May, I worked.
“And I think I came a long way with that. Now I think I can throw any ball that needs to be thrown.”
Chelf's workouts were a family affair. He enlisted his brother, Colton, who had just completed his eligibility with the Cowboys, and some friends. But also his mom and dad, with mom even snapping balls to Clint in the triple-digit heat on the turf at Enid High's stadium.
And Clint threw “hundreds of balls a day.”
It was rough on mom at times, but she made it through.
“They just got new turf, so it was even hotter,” Clint said. “We had to take water out there. But it was worth it, for sure.”
Well worth it now.
“I'm happy for him,” Monken said. “This has nothing to do with me — I'll be coaching for another 20 years — I'm happy for the young man because it's a guy who's worked so hard and just wants an opportunity.”
“I'm sure there's been plenty of times where he's thought, ‘Why am I doing this? Coach Monken's an idiot. I'm better than this.' And that's human nature. That's what you want them to think.”
The thinking is now changing about Chelf.
Among fans. With Monken. Among teammates.
“I knew he could play, but I didn't think he'd play at that level,” Taylor said. “He surprised me and a lot of people. Everyone knew he was talented, but he hasn't had the stage to perform. He stepped up and did well.”