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Berry Tramel

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Oklahoma State football: Quarterback games cloud the issue

by Berry Tramel Published: August 6, 2014
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OSU quarterbacks Mason Rudolph (10), J.W. Walsh (4) and Daxx Garman run sprints Friday during OSU's first August practice. (Photo by K.T. King)
OSU quarterbacks Mason Rudolph (10), J.W. Walsh (4) and Daxx Garman run sprints Friday during OSU's first August practice. (Photo by K.T. King)

Mike Gundy said Tuesday that Daxx Garman is preparing as if he will take “10 to 12 snaps” when OSU plays Florida State. So what do we make of that?

It’s all dicey. These days, Gundy likes to play games with the media and likes to play games with his quarterbacks, so everyone is kept in a constant state of confusion. Maybe that’s by design, and if so, maybe it works. I don’t know.

But clearly, Gundy wants to keep Florida State either guessing or in the dark. Same way he tried to keep Mississippi State in the dark last August. And was successful, I might add. Everyone was in the dark, including the quarterbacks. Clint Chelf started, played two series, then was replaced by J.W. Walsh.

The Cowboy offense wasn’t overly efficient, but Walsh played reasonably well and OSU won 21-3.

So is the same thing in store for Florida State? A two-QB system, who knows? Confusion, sure. Gundy has done an excellent job of clouding the issue. Maybe that helps.

Garman, though, is a wild card. History has shown that Gundy will go with Walsh and will go with a true freshman quarterback. That’s why Walsh and Mason Rudolph were considered the front-runners in a quarterback derby. Garman was an outlier.

But he’s now in his third OSU season, and though Garman hasn’t played a football game since 2009 for Jones High School, perhaps he’s impressed enough to at least get in on the discussion.

OSU offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich talked Tuesday about balancing practice repetitions among three quarterbacks.

“You just have to make sure that you’re trying to split it up evenly, for the most part,” Yurcich said. “With whatever drill we’re in, you’ve got to make sure that a different guy is starting that drill the next day for you. For example, if J.W. (Walsh) starts an inside run on Monday, then on Tuesday, we start someone else and make sure we’re rotating them throughout the week and getting a fair share there.

“They’re all doing real well. They’re all progressing. The biggest thing is that they compete, and they’re all great teammates. The awesome thing about being able to coach those young men is that they understand the concept of a team.”

It still seems a longshot that anyone besides Walsh is the quarterback against Florida State. The guy is 6-2 as a college starter and is 8-2 if you count the two games that he took over in the first quarter (Mississippi State 2013, Louisiana-Lafayette 2012). Walsh’s game experience dwarfs Garman’s and Rudolph’s. Neither has taken a college snap. But Garman is only one year behind Walsh in terms of arrival on campus. That doesn’t equate to near-equal practice time, but being around, Garman has done that.

“You know, any time you get an extra year to get to know somebody, whether it’s your wife or it’s the quarterback, you’re going to get to know them a little bit better,” Yurcich said. “I think it really helps with communication, and the big word there is trust.”

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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