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Oklahoma State football: It's J.W. Walsh's job to lose — and to win

Last August, J.W. Walsh emerged as OSU’s stealth candidate at quarterback. This August, Walsh flew as the primary candidate. And he’ll enter the season opener Saturday against Florida State as the starter. From there, however, who knows how the position will play out?
Oklahoman Modified: August 24, 2014 at 7:50 pm •  Published: August 24, 2014

/articleid/5335443/1/pictures/3108652">Photo - Oklahoma State quarterback J.W. Walsh (4) runs during the first team practice of the fall at the Sherman E. Smith Training Facility on the campus of Oklahoma State University in Stillwater on August 1, 2014. Photo by KT King, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma State quarterback J.W. Walsh (4) runs during the first team practice of the fall at the Sherman E. Smith Training Facility on the campus of Oklahoma State University in Stillwater on August 1, 2014. Photo by KT King, The Oklahoman

Line Dancing. OSU is in transition on the offensive front, with three new and young starters occupying the right side of the line, center included. The early returns on that unit have been favorable, although proven game production simply is missing. Depth is an issue, too.

For Walsh to think and operate cleanly, protection and time is necessary.

Pacing and Spacing. The best recipe for Walsh appears to be an offense with the pedal pushed all the way to the floor. Spread the field, get the ball out quick and distribute the ball to playmakers. And do it again. Fast. That makes things easier on Walsh and the line. Hill benefits, too.

Square Peg. Let’s be honest, Walsh isn’t the ideal fit for what OSU wants in its spread. He was recruited on the heels of Zac Robinson, before Brandon Weeden showed us all how the Air Raid operates optimally. Walsh can throw on the run and make plays with his legs, yet doesn’t quite have the gun to sit in the pocket and work the entire field. And that takes some wideouts, which may be OSU’s best weapons, off the board for any given play.

Other Opportunities. Garman and Rudolph have stronger and more accurate arms. What they don’t have is experience. And that unknown, coupled with an opponent like the Seminoles, doesn’t add up to another stealth candidate in the opener. But the weeks that follow, offering Missouri State and UTSA, could serve to quench curiosities about what the Cowboys have in Garman and even Rudolph.

Walsh’s play will ultimately determine who’s behind center in Week 4. And 7. And 10.

It’s his job to lose.

But in some respect, it’s still his job to win.

by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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