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Why the Oklahoma State football offense is the indicator of Wes Lunt's success

COMMENTARY — If freshman Wes Lunt fails, it will be a first for first-time quarterbacks in the Air Raid offense.
by Berry Tramel Published: August 8, 2012

STILLWATER – Wes Lunt holds the fortune of OSU football 2012 in his awfully-talented hands and his 18-year-old brain.

Normally, that's enough information to know how a team would fare. Not very well. You don't get far in college football depending on a quarterback three months past his senior prom.

College football will take notice if Lunt is a phenom and the Cowboys continue their high-riding ways (23 wins the last two seasons). But college football should be even more intrigued if Lunt goes splat.

For this reason: No quarterback ever has failed in his first season of running the Air Raid offense.

The offense that Hal Mumme installed at Kentucky and Mike Leach took to OU and Texas Tech, then Sonny Dykes exported to Arizona and Dana Holgorsen to Houston, OSU and West Virginia, is easy on quarterbacks.

From Tim Couch at Kentucky to Josh Heupel at OU to all those Tech reloaders to Case Keenum at Houston to Brandon Weeden at OSU to Geno Smith at West Virginia, quarterbacks excel at their first crack with the Air Raid.

Admittedly, Mumme nor his disciples ever handed the keys to a true freshman. So that will keep Mike Gundy awake at night. But the truth is, this offense, which flings the ball around 50, 60, sometimes 70 times a game, is easy on quarterbacks.

We don't know what Lunt says about the offense, since his speaking privileges don't start until next January. But one of Lunt's backups, Clint Chelf, says the Air Raid indeed is one of the easier systems to use.

“There's not a whole lot of verbiage, words,” Chelf said. “Some of the things are pretty simple in that aspect. My true freshman year, when Coach Gundy was still calling plays in that (Zac Robinson) offense, I was in way over my head. Compared to that offense, this offense is extremely easy. The playbook is not even close to being as thick as it was. The quarterbacks, hardest part of it, is having the freedom to make all those decisions at the line.”

That's where Lunt's learning curve comes in. The formations, the routes, that stuff's easy in the Air Raid. The hard part is knowing where to throw the ball. And the hard part seems to come easy quickly for novices.

The thin playbook and the constant repetition of routes by receivers, make for a simple offense that is hard to guard.

“It is easy,” said OSU offensive coordinator Todd Monken. “It is something our guys should be able to handle. That was something I was always impressed with. Whether it was Mike or Dana or Sonny (Dykes), they seem to do it better than the teams defended it.

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by Berry Tramel
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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