STILLWATER — One of the last images of J.W. Walsh's special package in Oklahoma State's offense last season happens to be the quarterback's favorite.
On fourth-and-1 from the Purdue 16 in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, Walsh faked the handoff to Joseph Randle, got the ball off before the Boilermaker pass rush arrived and fired a touchdown strike to backup tight end Jeremy Seaton.
“Nobody was really expecting it,” Walsh said with a smile.
Because of the Cowboys' injury-driven quarterback carousel in 2012, the role originally envisioned for Walsh — a versatile short-yardage and goal-line weapon — did not materialize until the season's final month.
But when Walsh finally got to use his toughness and elusiveness as a runner — and, yes, his arm — in those situations, he embraced it.
“It was a lot of fun to be able to do it,” Walsh said. “There were different runs and passes and just different nuances that were fun to run last year. Looking back, I'm glad I got to do it.
“But now I also want to run the whole thing.”
Something fairly dramatic will need to change over the next two-plus weeks for Walsh to get that wish. Coach Mike Gundy reiterated again Wednesday that Clint Chelf is currently the Cowboys' starter because of the way he performed down the stretch of last season and has practiced so far this spring.
Yet the coach also stressed that Walsh will still be plenty involved as the change-up quarterback.
“He's going to play,” Gundy said. “He's going to have a package. I don't think there's any question. That's established. He's a big part of our team.”
In this case, “a big part of our team” means a touchdown machine. Walsh accounted for six total scores (four rushing, two passing) over OSU's last four games after recovering from a fractured kneecap that forced him to miss three contests.
Since then, Walsh has continued to work on his passing, the part of his game with clear limitations that were exposed during his time as the starter. That doesn't just mean throwing motion, arm strength and accuracy when targeting receivers on the outside. That means pocket presence, keeping his eyes downfield and general confidence.
“I think it's just being comfortable with the offense,” Walsh said, “and making sure that I know where to go with the ball and (to) be on time with it and not just catch the ball (off the snap) and just take off running.
“I want to make sure the coaches know that they can trust me back there in the pocket and that I can deliver nice, timely balls.”
But if Walsh doesn't get the chance to start, he'll be just fine with headlining that special package again in 2013.
“If they ask me to do it, I would be excited to do it,” he said. “No matter what happens, I'm going to do whatever to help my team succeed. If that's my job, then that's what I'm gonna do.”