Clint Chelf stands at the ready, just in case he's called into this 2012 season.
Hoping to be called into this 2012 season.
Nothing against fellow quarterbacks Wes Lunt or J.W. Walsh, or their continued good health. But Chelf came to Oklahoma State to play.
And frankly, time is running out.
Once considered a potential heir apparent to Brandon Weeden, Chelf entered a three-man spring race for Oklahoma State's quarterback job and essentially finished third.
Yet Chelf, a redshirt junior set to graduate in December, will not surrender.
“I've just had to kind of stay strong and keep working hard and build off the mindset that you'll get the opportunity someday,” Chelf said. “And that's what I've done.”
Not that it's always been easy.
The months since true freshman Lunt was tabbed the starter have presented some challenges.
“They've been pretty difficult,” Chelf admitted.
Still, after receiving the bad news from offensive coordinator Todd Monken in April, Chelf went to work, enlisting anyone who could help.
Even his mom, Donna.
“It's crazy, not too many families are like this, but my mom would come out and snap to me,” Chelf said.
In the heat on Enid High's new artificial turf.
“Most people say that mom is the No. 1 fan,” Chelf said. “Well, if there's a Super No. 1 fan for someone, it's my mom for me. She'll do anything for me — sweat, snap balls, whatever. I really love her for that. And I love my whole family.”
Brother Colton, who finished his Cowboys career last fall, joined some of Clint's closest friends back home in Enid, catching “hundreds of balls a day.” Clint's dad Randy, who played at OSU and serves as his son's unofficial quarterback coach, made observations and adjustments.
“Coach Monken told me it was a close competition,” Chelf said. “One thing he said was that I wasn't confident throwing the ball some places. 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. I think I've definitely gotten a lot better.”
But will he ever get a chance to show it?
Third-team quarterbacks receive limited practice reps, working with third-team personnel, so the opportunities to make a point — or a case — are few. And as a still-developing rookie, Lunt needs all the work he can get.
That means every snap and every pass Chelf makes needs to be perfect.
“I'm a perfectionist anyway,” Chelf said. “I definitely feel like I went out there and did well (Saturday in the scrimmage). We moved the ball. I made the right reads, made the right plays. We scored two touchdowns in two drives. I think I did really well.”
The rugged truth remains that Lunt is No. 1. And coaches are trying to build a package that utilizes Walsh's running skills.
And Chelf is No. 3, even though if Lunt were to struggle, or worse, get injured, Chelf appears to be the next-best option to run this offense.
Chelf said he'll continue to work and prepare and hope for his opportunity.
Monken signs off on that approach.
“And you never know,” Monken said. “You lose your quarterback, now I'm the backup. And then maybe I'm the guy.”
Chelf could find himself at another crossroad come December. With a degree in business management and a triple minor (finance, sports management and marketing), he'd be eligible to go to grad school somewhere else and be immediately eligible.
That's a thought for later, however.
“I'm extremely happy with where I'm at,” Chelf said. “I love OSU and I'm glad to be here. I'll graduate in December. I've never been a quitter. I'll get my degree from here; I always wanted to do that. And then we'll see where that takes me.
“We'll just have to see.”
So Chelf stands at the ready, just in case he's called into this 2012 season.
At some point, he wants to play.
“I'm not going to give up on that,” he said, “until there's absolutely zero chance.”