“We really see Wes as the starter who's injured,” Gundy allowed this week. “And J.W.'s come in and done a nice job behind him.”
Most likely, Gundy is prodding Walsh to compete and prepare fully, in the event Lunt is lost for a significant number of games. Even if Lunt bounces back quickly, competition holds value.
Consider Walsh game for some competition.
“I'm going to prepare every day like I am going to be ready,” he said. “You never know what's going to happen. You never know the situation.
“Even before this week, you've got to prepare your mind like you're the starter each day. That's what I've been doing. And I'm going to continue to do that. And now that I get reps with the 1s, I'm going to try and take advantage of every opportunity I have.”
Walsh offers versatility as a run-pass operator who came out of Denton Guyer High (Texas) as the nation's No. 4-ranked dual-threat quarterback by Rivals.com. He passed for 3,200 yards and ran for more than 1,400 more as a prep senior, leading Guyer to a state runner-up finish.
Against Lafayette, he seemed to have the confidence of his teammates, too, boosted by an obvious moxie and swagger.
“Wes Lunt is one of the best players on the team,” said receiver Josh Stewart, a teammate of Walsh's back at Guyer. “It hurt losing Wes, but we had to move on. And we had to try and make plays without him. And we did a good job.
“And that's how we're going to go about it.”
Still, for all Walsh offers, he has his limitations, too.
Lunt, while not a running threat, is a superior passer at this stage of their careers. And the Cowboys are all in on the Air Raid offense, which was the backbone of the most successful seasons in school history the past two seasons. OSU is committed to it and recruiting to it.
Recall as well OSU's last dual-threat quarterback, Zac Robinson, late in the 2009 season. While one of the Cowboys' best all-time quarterbacks, his effectiveness was compromised at the end of his senior year, when a season's worth of punishment from running left him limited in the biggest games: Bedlam to end the regular season and against Ole Miss in the Cotton Bowl.
OSU's ideal scenario likely remains the same as it did to start this season, which is to feature Lunt as the starter and have a weekly package utilizing Walsh's skills. And those skills, albeit after one game, have been confirmed.
But a quarterback controversy?
“We made a decision on (Lunt) being our guy,” Monken said. “Moving forward, that's what you do.”