So even though Chelf was getting limited practice and game time — he did appear late against Savannah State and Louisiana-Lafayette — at the start of the season, he stayed engaged on the sideline by taking “mental reps,” or going through the plays and the decisions he would make in his head. He has had plenty of conversations with Monken and studied film. And he's been there to answer if Lunt and Walsh have questions.
“I like both of them, and they're good guys,” Chelf said. “…I want to help them and I want to help the team win. And if I need to give them whatever knowledge that I have and I can do that, then it's not going to be a bother to me.”
That doesn't mean there haven't been hard times for Chelf, especially when he was only getting three reps during the team portions of practice. He admits he occasionally thought to himself about quitting. Sometimes he's needed to talk — or vent — his frustrations to his parents and older brother, Colton, a former receiver and teammate at OSU.
“Clint's been a resilient guy,” OSU head coach Mike Gundy said. “Because it's not easy to be a junior or senior, and all the sudden, you're behind two freshmen. It's been hard on him. But his attitude's been good. There's been times he's been discouraged. But he's recovered.
“It's easier said than done, but it's been a good lesson for our team and for him.”
Because of his experience in the program, Chelf has always been the quarterback that best understood the Cowboys' offense. And ever since Lunt got hurt, his practice load has increased. Chelf also provides some mobility, a quarterback element that has been worked more into the offense since Walsh became the starter.
Whether Chelf or Lunt takes the first snap Saturday remains to be seen. But either way, is Chelf glad he stuck around, despite the spring and fall disappointment?