But Chelf did stay ready, and has performed when called upon.
Monken tried not to put too much pressure on Chelf as he prepared for his first collegiate start Saturday. He told his quarterback it didn't matter if he threw four touchdowns or four interceptions. Instead, he told Chelf to enjoy the experience.
“Win or lose, aren't you happy you're playing?” Monken said. “Down the road, you can always say you started here at quarterback.”
Obviously, Chelf wanted more than that. He completed 22 of his 31 passes for 292 yards and four touchdowns and helped OSU pull away from the Mountaineers in the fourth quarter.
Coaches and teammates have always regarded Chelf as a likable guy in the locker room. And the redshirt junior is now gaining a bit of a cult following with the OSU message board and social media crowd.
Many of those signs of support — such as a new Twitter hashtag — contain language not suitable for print. But several Photoshopped creations have spread through cyberspace that depict Chelf as a train driving through Boone Pickens Stadium and opposing defenses. And instead of hollering “so true!” during the middle of the OSU alma mater Saturday night, two guys in the front row of the student section yelled “choo choo!”
Who knows how long Chelf's ride as the Cowboys' starting quarterback will last. Lunt and Walsh were both in uniform Saturday night and available to play, according to Monken.
But the fact that Chelf has had this role at all — despite any scenarios Monken concocted back in August — is pretty remarkable.
And if Chelf finishes out the season as QB1, the Cowboys are just fine with that.
“It's got nothing to do with me and everything to do with him,” Monken said.