By Jason Elmquist
STILLWATER, Okla. —
As Yogi Berra once famously put it, “It’s déjà vu all over again.”
The Oklahoma State football program finds itself mired in quarterback controversy for a second straight season — though it’s not as desperate as a year ago with two quarterbacks going down with injuries.
After woeful play from J.W. Walsh in OSU’s first two Big 12 Conference games — and the first three drives of the third conference contest — OSU coach Mike Gundy pulled the trigger to try to give the Cowboys’ offense a jolt with senior quarterback Clint Chelf.
Even that scenario was fairly reminiscent — when Walsh replaced Chelf in the season opener against Mississippi State after two unsuccessful drives.
But now that Gundy made the move back to Chelf early in Saturday’s victory over Texas Christian University, the question remains, ‘Who is OSU’s starting quarterback?’
“You just have to see how it goes. I don’t think we can predict how it will go from this point forward,” Gundy said. “We’re very open and honest with both of them and I think that benefits our team. We just have to move forward and we’re fortunate that they’re good people.”
The uncertainty surrounding the starting signal caller has rampant guessing swirling around the situation. Will Gundy and first-year offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich consider utilizing both quarterbacks — similar to how the offense finished last year with Walsh coming in for short-yardage packages — and how do you prepare your team with two quarterbacks getting first-team snaps?
According to Gundy, splitting snaps in practice will be nothing new. The OSU coach said following the TCU victory that both quarterbacks had split time during the year with the first-team offense.
“The system we are in now that we’ve been in for a number of years — the quarterbacks get a lot of work. A lot of it is based on the tempo and the way we practice,” Gundy said. “There’s not as many running schemes like there were years ago.”
Gundy said he’s hoping to know by Thursday who the Cowboys will start at quarterback, but he has no intentions of making his decision public.
As for the players around the offense, many of them admitted there won’t be any major changes based on who is under center for the Cowboys. However, there definitely has to be an understanding who’s throwing the ball — or at times electing to run the ball instead of pass.
“Clint is definitely the thrower of the bunch, so with him he’s going to take a lot more shots downfield, where J.W. may be more conservative,” OSU senior receiver Tracy Moore said. “We don’t take as many shots with J.W. in, but with Clint in we are all comfortable with his arm and being able the throw the deep ball.”