STILLWATER — Here we go again with Mike Gundy and his secrets about Oklahoma State's quarterback situation.
Two weeks ago, the Cowboy coach had essentially named senior Clint Chelf the starter, telling reporters that while sophomores Wes Lunt and J.W. Walsh were out there competing, he didn't “necessarily feel like there's a battle out there to start in the first game.”
Then last week, Gundy slightly changed his tune, saying the Cowboys “haven't necessarily said anything about the (starting quarterback for the) first game of the season.”
And following OSU's spring finale, the coach declared he would not reveal any more information about the quarterback pecking order until after the Cowboys' season opener against Mississippi State.
Yes, after. Meaning Gundy doesn't plan to announce a starting quarterback next week or during fall camp or anytime before that Aug. 31 contest in Houston. In the meantime, Chelf, Lunt and Walsh are off-limits to the media, as well.
“We are not really going to talk about that from this point on,” Gundy said Saturday. “There is no reason for us to talk about what our quarterback situation is. I think we have been very open about it throughout the spring. Our players have been very open about it.
“I think they have been really fair in the information that they have shared with the media and the coaches, we have done the same. I don't think there is anything else we can say other than we are fortunate that we have three players that are really good.”
Gundy admitted part of the reasoning behind the decision is because he didn't want to tip his hand to his opponent, especially an SEC foe in a highly anticipated non-conference game on a neutral field. Additionally, Lunt, Walsh and Chelf are different styles of quarterbacks and thus present different types of challenges for opposing defenses.
This tactic was used at times during last season's injury-driven quarterback carousel. Weekly depth charts consistently featured the word “or” between two — or three — quarterbacks. Lunt was portrayed as a potential starter for the Texas game when he was still weeks away from returning to full health. Walsh's knee injury sustained against Iowa State in October was originally identified as a season-ender, but he came back for the season's final four games.
“I don't think there is any doubt that we would prefer that (Mississippi State) not know exactly what to work on,” Gundy said. “They have all of our video and we have theirs. There is no secrets there.
“But it's better for us if people don't really know exactly what we are doing and it does make a difference in who we open with. There is no question about that.”
But the bottom line is Gundy has three capable Big 12 quarterbacks that all passed for more than 1,000 yards a season ago. That's both a luxury and a predicament.
All three quarterbacks rotated Saturday, with none putting up particularly eye-popping numbers in a 17-7 scrimmage that was dominated by defense. Chelf went 17-for-24 for 204 yards and a touchdown, Walsh 13-for-23 for 123 yards, one touchdown and one interception and Lunt 15-of-27 for 122 yards, no touchdowns and one interception.
There were a couple highlight plays — a 30-yard touchdown pass dropped nicely by Chelf into Josh Stewart's grasp near the sideline and a strike from Walsh to Blake Webb on a crossing route for 14-yard score. But Gundy admitted the Cowboys went vanilla, primarily because a lack of depth at other positions — offensive line, most notably — hampered the fast pace this offense thrives on and put players who don't normally line up together on the field at the same time.
Even if Gundy won't talk about the quarterbacks moving forward, he will continue to be asked about them.
So will the players. But Stewart isn't worried about who will take the first snap in the season opener.
“They could just draw something out of a bucket of who's going to start and we could just go with that,” he said. “We don't know. Whoever we roll with, we're going to be good with it.”
Hey, Josh, care to let us know the lucky winner if that happens?
“I gotta keep that a secret,” he said.