DALLAS — Lane Taylor chuckled when he was asked how many times Wes Lunt had become a topic of conversation during Big 12 Media Days.
“Six million times,” the Oklahoma State offensive lineman said.
A large exaggeration, of course. It's not a stretch, however, to say that Lunt was arguably the most talked-about quarterback not in Dallas at the unofficial kickoff of the Big 12 season.
It's been nearly three months since the true freshman signal-caller was named the Cowboys' new starter. But Tuesday's interview sessions marked the first time OSU coach Mike Gundy and some of his players talked publicly about the successor to record-breaking Cowboy quarterback Brandon Weeden.
“We didn't want to have a quarterback race or a controversy going throughout the summer, and so we've accomplished that,” Gundy said. “Now we need to get him to play well and follow up on it.”
First came the late April decision to crown Lunt the OSU quarterback for the present and future. Gundy admitted toward the end of spring football that he knew who he felt should be the Cowboys' starter. Yet he kept those thoughts private so he would not influence the other offensive coaches.
“(Lunt) would make plays in our two-minute drills and in certain situations that made me think, ‘Yeah, maybe this guy can do it, we'll see,' ” Gundy said. “And then the next practice, he'd make a play or two. And then he'd make another couple plays.
“I thought, ‘If he continues to do this, (he can be the starter),' and he did. He maintained pretty good up until the end.”
The week after OSU's spring finale, Gundy met with offensive coordinator Todd Monken, who had reached the same conclusion. The decision to name Lunt the starter, which became official after Monken met with each quarterback, spread so quickly through social media and among the players that Gundy did not even need to call a team meeting to make the announcement.
Running back Joseph Randle was in the locker room with several teammates when he got the news.
“I knew who had a great spring, but we didn't know if they was bold enough to really do it,” Randle said. “He did have a worthy camp. He showed that he could get the ball down the field similar to what we've had in the past, and he's similar to Weeden.
“We had a lot of success with Weeden last year, so we're just going to try to keep going with that.”