STILLWATER — This is not good for Cowboys fans. If this is any foreshadowing for the season, then we are in trouble.
That was the call Jase Chilcoat made as he watched Oklahoma State quarterback Wes Lunt go down with a left knee injury from a broadcast booth at Boone Pickens Stadium. It was a good real-world experience for Chilcoat, an aspiring broadcaster who was practicing his radio play-by-play as part of a sports announcing class that Voice of the Cowboys Dave Hunziker teaches at OSU.
But Chilcoat didn't realize then that another unexpected result of the play he had just called would be him getting yanked from the broadcast booth and being put back on the field.
“It never crossed my mind that, ‘Hey, I am back. This is my time,'” Chilcoat said.
Chilcoat, a former walk-on quarterback at OSU who had stepped away from football following the 2011 season to focus on school, has been brought back as an emergency third-team quarterback while Lunt is hurt. He's been given a scholarship for the rest of the semester, and essentially is the equivalent of rental player added at the trade deadline in the NBA or Major League Baseball.
“He is like a 38-year-old veteran quarterback that we have pulled in,” offensive coordinator Todd Monken said.
Chilcoat grew up in Midwest City, loving the Sooners, not the Cowboys, and idolizing Bob Barry, Sr. He would play football on his Xbox and try to describe the action just like Barry would. And he became a star quarterback for the Bombers while helping lead Midwest City to the Class 6A state semifinals as a senior in 2008.
During high school, he attended an OSU quarterback camp, and made the decision to walk on after he felt a bond with Gundy — he could always talk about the Bombers with the former Midwest City QB — and four assistants on staff who shared his Christian faith.
For three years, Chilcoat was a scout team quarterback, mimicking the opposing signal-caller each week. He still got to experience much of OSU's magical 2011 season, though, as his Facebook profile features a giant photo of him and the rest of the Cowboys celebrating in the locker room following their Fiesta Bowl victory.
But Chilcoat thought that would be the final moment of his football life.
He instead decided to become a normal student, focusing on his studies and preparing to pursue a career as a sports broadcaster. He finally had time to join the sports media club, and became an officer for the OSU chapter of the Association for Women in Sports Media. He got a part-time job at the LASSO Center, which provides academic support to students. He still played some football — intramural football, that is — and had his buddies teach him the chants and cheers when he sat in the student section for the first time for OSU's season opener against Savannah State.
“It was nuts just watching the first game,” Chilcoat said. “I was like, ‘I can't believe I'm not out there.' I didn't tear up, but it was definitely hard seeing the guys down there and not being down there with them.”
But Monken knew Chilcoat was still around, which is why he half-joked after Lunt got hurt against Louisiana-Lafayette that the Cowboys may need to reach out to him. OSU had five quarterbacks on the roster, but Daxx Garman is sitting out the season due after transferring from Arizona and junior college transfer Cody Peterson is currently ineligible.
Sure enough, Chilcoat was sitting on the couch watching football the next day when he received a text from Monken asking if he'd be willing to walk back on. Because that would require Chilcoat to reduce his work hours, he said he'd need financial help. Monken knew adding Chilcoat would also help OSU's Academic Progress Rate.
“At first I was like, ‘I really don't want to do this,'” Chilcoat said. “But you can never turn down a scholarship and another chance to be with the guys in the locker room. It was just too good. It has definitely been a lot of fun.”
By the end of the following week, Chilcoat had rejoined OSU on the practice field — wearing a green quarterback no-contact jersey, rather than a scout team jersey. He has stayed after practice to get additional throws in and has been working extra to relearn the playbook.
“I knew of the offense (as a scout team player) and I knew of the calls and everything like that, but I didn't know all the in-depth things,” Chilcoat said. “And when I came out the first day, I was like, ‘Oh, I got that.' Then they are like, ‘OK, he is going to switch his route if it is press coverage and then you've got to know if it is cloud 3 (coverage)…'”
He's also had to juggle other parts of his schedule, reducing his 20 hours a week at the LASSO Center to 8-10 hours and fitting in labs for class when he has the time. And it's now a bit tougher to attend those club meetings and events that often take place at the same time as practice.
But last Saturday, Chilcoat's college career really made a full circle, going from the student section, to the broadcast booth, to back to the field in a matter of three home games. He wore No. 6 as he participated in pregame warm-ups, then had the sideline view during the Cowboys' last-minute 41-36 loss to Texas.
Chilcoat, who is a redshirt junior athletically, has asked Monken about continuing to play next spring and fall. But Monken has been honest in saying there won't be a spot for him after the season. This is a short-term solution for the Cowboys.
“In the spring, he can go hang out at Joe's,” Monken said. “…This is just for now. We need (him) now.”
Chilcoat is OK with that. He'll go back to being a regular student as he prepares to graduate and chase another dream of being a sports broadcaster. He also recently got engaged.
Still, the journey and decision for Chilcoat to put the broadcast booth on hold for the moment and come out of college football retirement has been worth it. Even if he never takes a real snap.
“Not only the scholarship, even though that is nice,” Chilcoat said. “But seriously, you just miss the guys whenever you are in it for three years and then coming out. … Just being with the guys and the camaraderie there. It's amazing.”