Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said the decision to name true freshman quarterback Wes Lunt the starter after spring practices has benefitted Lunt and the offense heading into the season opener Saturday night against Savannah State.
“He's a little further along than I thought he would be,” Gundy said during the Big 12 teleconference on Monday. “We feel better about making that decision. It has helped ease his mind and the team knowing who the quarterback is going to be so they can concentrate trying to rally around a certain guy.
“I think it really benefitted us. If I had to do it again I'd probably do it the same way.”
Gundy was asked if starting a true freshman quarterback forces coaches to lower expectations.
“There will be mistakes, growing pains,” Gundy said. “We had them with Brandon Weeden and he had been in practice (a few years) and obviously was very mature because of his age. You understand (challenges) that we named him the quarterback. The players realize that.
“He'll make mistakes just like any other young player. You go with it and keep playing. We have to try and do the best we can to get a barometer on mistakes compared to progressing and what it takes to have success. We feel we'll have a pretty good feel for that based on our experience in the offense.”
How much does a true freshmen impact formulating game plans to try and minimize those mistakes?
“I don't think there's anything you can do other than reps and putting him in situations in practice and try to make it as difficult as possible during team periods against your own team,” Gundy said.
One advantage is the Cowboys have some experienced players around Lunt.
Joseph Randle rushed for 1,216 yards last season and scored 26 touchdowns. Jeremy Smith rushed for 666 yards and nine scores.
“(That helps) some,” Gundy said. “But the truth is anytime you put a player on the field that's never played at this level you have concerns, even more so with a guy who is going to touch the ball every play. You love having experience out there, playmakers with him. But ultimately they have to make plays.”