Since arriving at OSU, quarterback J.W. Walsh has had to make the most of limited practice reps.
Last year, while redshirting, he lagged behind Brandon Weeden and Clint Chelf. Then after losing the battle to replace Weeden in the spring, Walsh was relegated to leftovers again.
The injury to starter Wes Lunt changed that.
Back at work following Saturday's win over Louisiana-Lafayette, Walsh has commanded the majority of the reps, working to gain more comfort in the offense in the event Lunt isn't back for next week's game against Texas.
And he felt it.
“My body's more exhausted,” Walsh said.
And it never felt so good.
“To be able to get this many reps was a lot of fun,” he said. “You have to prepare your body to be able to come out and throw that many balls and handle that many reps.”
‘GOOD TIME' FOR OFF WEEK
All along, getting extra time to prepare for Texas seemed like a good thing for the Cowboys.
Now, with Lunt out and Walsh likely readying for his first career start, the timing of this off week appears all the better.
“I think this off week is going to be a good time for us to regroup, kind of make the changes we're going to make with J-Dub being our quarterback for who knows how long,” said Cowboys receiver Josh Stewart. “We're just going to work hard at what he does and try to get that bond with him and move forward.”
GILBERT ADJUSTING TO KICKOFFS
Justin Gilbert — the return man — understandably wasn't a fan of the new kickoff rule, which moves the ball up from the 30 to the 35-yard line, when it was instituted during the offseason.
Those feelings haven't changed much through three games.
Gilbert is averaging 29.0 yards on nine returns so far, with many of them being taken out of the end zone. His longest return of 61 yards came against Savannah State.
“There have been a couple times where I've hit a seam, and there's just one guy that if I can make them miss, then we're off to the races,” Gilbert said. “But for the kickoff team, they have more of an advantage (with the new rule).”
Gilbert, who has four career kick return touchdowns, does see one adjustment that he can make, though — bursting more quickly after fielding the ball.
“First couple of games, I've been jogging and waiting on my blocks,” Gilbert said. “But I want to hit the hole a little bit faster, and maybe I can spring out.”
By John Helsley and Gina Mizell