STILLWATER — Todd Monken takes in all the chatter suggesting young Wes Lunt's leadership skills and calls for an immediate timeout.
“I'm not in the locker room that much,” Monken said, “except to walk through it and make fun of the guys or something like that. But the reality is, I don't know if he's any kind of a leader. He leads by example. I think he works hard. I think he keeps his mouth shut. I think they think he's a good player.
“When I'm around him, do I think he leads? I don't know. I don't ever hear him say anything, so I don't know how the hell they think he's a leader.”
Oklahoma State's 18-year-old freshman quarterback is a relative newcomer to campus and a complete newcomer to the college game, with nary a meaningful skin on his résumé entering Saturday's game at Arizona.
And still, his teammates already refer to him as a “leader.” While it might be a necessary trait for good quarterbacks, true leadership is an asset that's earned and demonstrated over time.
Maybe, however, with Lunt, it's more a matter of definition than misidentification.
Lunt isn't a rah-rah, butt-slapping rowdy boy. Yet his body language confirms he belongs, despite being a kid quarterback in charge of an offense and team with high expectations.
In essence, he fits, even among a group of players who have already achieved so much and are counting on the quarterback to make sure they accomplish more.
That much, Monken, Oklahoma State's offensive coordinator, is buying. He even offers up an interesting analogy from one of his favorite films, Shawshank Redemption, and the great Tim Robbins character in the leading role.
And remember, Monken is long on record as saying Lunt has “it.”
“It could be body language, the old Andy Dufresne in Shawshank, he just carries himself different,” Monken said. “Maybe just by that, he's different. ‘Nothing gets to me.' And that's what you have to have out of your quarterback. There's going to be tough times, but there's only one guy that really everybody looks to — he's the guy that does everything for us.
“They can't see your body language frustrated. Or they can't see you down, that we have no chance. Because if they see that in you, we have no chance.”