STILLWATER — Clint Chelf doesn't automatically inspire those around him. The Oklahoma State quarterback is a low-key personality playing a high-key position.
Chelf himself admits that's his biggest mission this spring. Not convince players and coaches that he's got a big-time arm. Not proving that he has the firmest grasp of OSU's offense.
Chelf knows he must convince his 'mates in shoulder pads, not to mention Mike Gundy and Todd Monken, that he's capable of leading a team determined to defend its Big 12 Championship. Capable of replacing an iconic quarterback, which Brandon Weeden most certainly was.
Chelf is a “very quiet leader,” said his high school coach, Enid's Tommy Parker. “He is a guy, if you're not careful as a coach, you step back and think, ‘Is this really important to this guy?' You kind of worry about it a little bit.”
But Parker pleads guilty to misreading Chelf back in Enid and warns Gundy's staff not to do the same.
And here's the evidence. This isn't the first time Chelf has tried to fill some awfully big cleats.
In 2007, Chelf took over as Enid's quarterback, succeeding Austin Box, who had led the Plainsmen to the Class 6A state title game the year before.
And despite the admitted skepticism of his own coaches, Chelf flourished.
“It was a pretty big deal,” Chelf said of following Box. “An Army All-American going to OU. About the same situation” as now.
Box, who tragically died last spring just before his final season as a Sooner linebacker, was an Enid legend.
“As big of shoes as there's ever been in Enid,” said Parker, who was defensive coordinator in the Box years and became head coach in 2008, Chelf's senior season. “Austin might be the greatest athlete to ever come through Enid. Certainly might be the most ballyhooed; moreso than Lydell Carr.”
I don't know about that. Carr in 1983 was as good a high school football player as I've ever seen, and Enid won the state championship. But just making the conversation with Carr is impressive.
“Austin Box, from the time he was 10 years old, everybody knew how good he was,” Parker said. “Pretty big shoes to fill.