Oklahoma State football: Coaches say Wes Lunt's their man, but could J.W. Walsh win the job?
There's a long-standing assumption that starters shouldn't lose their jobs to injury. But can a backup win the job with outstanding play while the starter is injured? If Wes Lunt shines again against Texas, the Cowboys could have a quarterback controversy.
STILLWATER — J.W. Walsh now holds the ultimate BMOC title: Cowboys Starting Quarterback.
But for how long?
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And does it come with an asterisk, completely dependent on Wes Lunt's availability following the knee injury he suffered last week against Louisiana-Lafayette?
“It's J-Dub short term,” Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Todd Monken said of Walsh immediately following the win over ULL. “Wes is our guy, not because of what happened — J-Dub played his butt off. Now, do I think in his mind he should compete and fight to prove that part of it? Of course.
“But Wes is our starter.”
There's a long-standing assumption that starters shouldn't lose their jobs to injury. But can the backup win the job, thanks in part to the injury, but also on the strength of their own outstanding play?
Walsh shined in his first extensive duty as a Cowboy, rallying the troops from a seemingly dire situation to a 65-24 rout of Lafayette after Lunt was lost just moments into the game. Walsh — known most for his running skills — threw for 347 yards and four touchdowns and led OSU to a school-record 742 yards of total offense.
Barring a rapid recovery by Lunt, should Walsh direct another rousing victory next Saturday against Texas, would the Cowboys have a quarterback controversy on their hands?
“The good news is I don't have to answer that right now,” said Mike Gundy, playing it a bit coy. “I really expect J.W. to play well. It's a good question, because it crossed my mind Saturday night.
“It's kind of the animal of the position and that question will always arise.”
The severity of Lunt's injury remains unknown, as Gundy and his staff aim to make Texas divide its limited practice time preparing for the differing styles of the two Cowboys signal callers.
Walsh worked with the No. 1 offense last week, before Lunt was to be re-evaluated. The assumption is that Walsh will play against the Longhorns.
And if he does, and wins, Gundy knows there will be some movement among the Cowboy family to ride that momentum.
“But Wes had played fairly well up to the point where he was injured,” Gundy said. “J.W. played well the last game. And I really expect him to play well, for however many games he plays. And I think he does.
“Hopefully, we'll have to answer that question. That would be a really good position to be in.”
What coach wouldn't want two quality — and winning — quarterbacks?
Few coaches, however, want any part of a quarterback controversy. Remember, it was Gundy who insisted on naming a No. 1 out of spring ball, when Lunt, Walsh and Clint Chelf waged a close battle for the job.
Gundy spoke then of the value not only of getting one quarterback the majority of the reps, but of having one voice to lead and be followed. It doesn't figure he's changed his opinion on either of those issues in such a short time.