After 14 spring practices of equal reps, there has been little consistent separation between Oklahoma State starting quarterback contenders Clint Chelf, J.W. Walsh and Wes Lunt. Even so, coach Mike Gundy still says that he wants to name a starting quarterback heading into the summer and possibly as soon as next week.
Here are some of the qualities Gundy, offensive coordinator Todd Monken and other members of the offensive staff will be weighing when evaluating the quarterback candidates.
Clint Chelf, junior
Case for: Though minimal and in blowouts, Chelf is the only quarterback who has played in a college game. That experience can't be replicated in practice. He has been in the program the longest and has the best understanding of the offense.
Case against: Todd Monken said before the spring began that Chelf needed to be “significantly” better than Walsh and Lunt in the early practices because of that experience and knowledge. That clearly did not happen. If anyone needed to “take (the job) and run with it,” as Gundy said before the spring, it was Chelf. He didn't.
J.W. Walsh, redshirt freshman
Case for: Walsh has terrific athleticism and would add another dimension to the Cowboy offense. Even if he doesn't win the starting job, a package will likely be built for Walsh to make sure he gets on the field in some way. Walsh also displays an “it” factor and leadership ability that Monken really likes.
Case against: Walsh's throwing motion is not pretty, which really isn't an issue as long as the ball gets to the right spot on time. What is an issue is that he's thrown the most interceptions in recent practices.
Wes Lunt, true freshman
Case for: With size and a strong arm, Lunt's skill set most resembles Weeden, who obviously thrived in the Cowboys' spread offense. He has, understandably, shown the most improvement from the beginning of practice until now and is delivering the ball with more confidence as he continues get comfortable in the OSU offense. Gundy said Lunt is further along, both physically and mentally, than he expected and called Lunt the best freshman passer he's ever been around. He's also the best pure passer of the three quarterbacks and has thrown the least interceptions in the Cowboys' three scrimmages.
Case against: Gundy said Lunt isn't even halfway to truly understanding what it takes to be a college football player. He's made plenty of mistakes during the spring and still hasn't completely learned the offense. And starting a true freshman quarterback is risky, no matter how talented he is.