Mike Gundy relaxed his restrictions on transferring quarterback Wes Lunt but too late to give Lunt any concrete options beyond Louisville and Illinois, Lunt told Illinois sports station WFMB. Lunt is transferring from OSU to Illinois and sat down for an excellent interview on channel1450.com, a Springfield, Ill.-based outlet. You can see that interview here.
Lunt said that Gundy called Lunt’s high school coach, Derek Leonard of Rochester, Ill., “about a week and a half ago … and said that I could go to another school if I wanted, but by that time I had lost contact with those coaches. Illinois and Louisville were great choices and I just stuck with them.”
Gundy had restricted Lunt from a scholarship at any Big 12, Pac-12 or SEC school, plus Southern Miss and Central Michigan. Lunt’s stated preferences were Louisville, Illinois, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Southern Miss. Which basically reduced his list to Louisville and Illinois.
Gundy caught a lot of grief for his restrictions, including from me, which you can read about here in this column from a few weeks ago. Lunt didn’t go into detail about how many of the restrictions were lifted. It’s good that Gundy has seen the light, no matter the reason for it. Enlightenment. Pressure. Whatever. But it’s unfortunate that it came too late. Which it obviously did.
Anyway, here are excerpts of the Lunt interview, with some of my responses.
On why Lunt transferred: “It kind of happened during the season when I didn’t go back in again (after two injuries). I wanted to play it out through spring ball, because I just loved it there, I didn’t want to leave. After spring ball and talking with Coach Gundy, it was just the right thing to do for me.”
Lunt seems to have some doubt about his football future as a Cowboy. He keeps saying he loved it in Stillwater. And while yeah, it’s a total drag to redshirt after starting part of his freshman season, he’s going to have to sit out with the Illini. Why not sit out with the Cowboys and take over one of the nation’s most proven offenses, unless something else is amiss.
On Lunt’s relationship with Gundy: “To be honest, when you go to college, you don’t really have a lot of time with the head coach. It’s more the position coach. I didn’t really talk to him too much, to be honest. That’s how all head coaches are. I understand that. But when (offensive coordinator Todd) Monken left, I got to know Coach (Mike) Yurcich, loved him, but just felt like I needed to leave.”
That’s an indictment of Gundy. Lunt is right; most head coaches don’t have real tight relationships with every player. But seems like the head coach ought to develop a relationship with the franchise quarterback. Seems like that ought to be a standard procedure. Letting Lunt get away might not cost the Cowboys in the long run. But it might. And this is not a recruit who decided to sign elsewhere. This was a guy who was on campus, had shown he had big-time potential and who keeps admitting he loved it in Stillwater. You can’t let a guy like that feel disconnected enough to leave.