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OSU football notebook: Quarterbacks Clint Chelf, J.W. Walsh battle for starting job

Monday afternoon, Chelf and Walsh finally got to chat with the media about the battle for No. 1 spot left open by NFL-bound Brandon Weeden.
BY GINA MIZELL, Staff Writer, gmizell@opubco.com Published: March 12, 2012

There has already been plenty of chatter about the Oklahoma State quarterback competition between Clint Chelf, J.W. Walsh and Wes Lunt that will take place this spring.

Monday afternoon, Chelf and Walsh finally got to chat with the media about the battle for the starting spot. And, of course, both quarterbacks expressed a strong desire to win the job.

“May the best man win, really,” Chelf said. “Whoever is going to give the team the best chance to win, I think that's who the coaches are going to put out there.

“Some of the questions coming in I really I feel like I need to address are leadership and taking charge of this team and showing those guys that they can look towards me and they can follow me. That's what I'm going to try to do.”

Added Walsh: “Words can't explain how excited I am for this. It's something that I've dreamed about as a little kid, and now that it's finally here, I've taken advantage of every opportunity to be able to work, to get film and to just gain some chemistry and some kind of friendship with those guys on and off the field.”

OSU has a policy that does not allow first-year players, such as Lunt, to speak to the media.

NEW SAFETIES COACH VAN MALONE ALREADY MAKING IMPACT

When new OSU safeties coach Van Malone was hired last month, it appeared his coaching philosophy would fit in perfectly with the Cowboys' defensive style that thrives on forcing turnovers.

While at Tulsa, Malone's secondary led the nation in interceptions with 24 and ranked 12th in that category last season with 18. That's clearly already been an emphasis with the OSU safeties, who accounted for only one of the Cowboys' 24 interceptions in 2011.

“Things like that don't just happen,” defensive coordinator Bill Young said of Tulsa's interception totals the last two seasons. “Our safeties, we dropped a lot of passes last year. He told them they need to get on the jug machine, and we have some drills with tennis balls and so forth, trying to improve their hands.

“I think that will really have an impact on them.”

COOPER BASSETT SETTLING IN AT DEFENSIVE END

Cooper Bassett jokingly asked members of the OSU coaching staff shortly after returning from the Fiesta Bowl what position he'd play in 2012.

Tight end? Defensive lineman? Linebacker? Really kidding on the last position, of course.

Bassett has been moved around a lot during his time in Stillwater, beginning his career at tight end before switching to defensive line. But heading into his senior season, he's locked in as a defensive end, where he will compete for the starting job with Nigel Nicholas.

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