By Jason Elmquist
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Oklahoma State just can’t seem to shake the injury bug.
First it was true freshman quarterback Wes Lunt, now his replacement J.W. Walsh — mixed in with what is becoming a plethora of Pokes on the mend.
Mike Gundy made it known Sunday in a teleconference with the media that Walsh and tight end Justin Horton would be out for the season with injuries sustained in Saturday’s victory over Iowa State. In his weekly press conference on Monday, he tweaked his statement just a bit saying “they probably are not going to play the rest of the year.”
“You never really know, anything could happen,” Gundy said. “But as I see it, it is very difficult to come back from the type of injuries that these guys have within the next six weeks.”
Several news organizations in Texas reported that J.W.’s father, John Walsh who is the high school football coach at Guyer High School in Denton, Texas, confirmed that the injury was a fracture of the knee, but did not include ligament damage and will not require surgery. John Walsh is reported to said his son is only expected to miss three to five weeks, which — at the extreme — would put his return as the regular season finale against Baylor.
The biggest thing about Walsh’s injury was it was sustained when he was sacked by the Cyclones in the first quarter — in which he was visibly limping after he was slow to get up. The redshirt quarterback remained in the game, however, and passed for a career-high 415 yards and garnered a “helmet sticker” on ESPN’s late-night college football wrap up show.
“The guy has a very high tolerance of pain. I’m reading a book about Navy SEALs and what they go through to be a SEAL and how much pain they have to endure to continue to move forward. That’s what it reminded me of,” Gundy said. “I’m not trying to make him out to be something he isn’t, but people need to realize that the guys who play this game put their body on the line every Saturday and we as coaches and fans need to respect that.
“We have guys who play with pain, but he gets more attention because he’s the quarterback. What he was able to do Saturday after he sustained the injury is pretty impressive. That’s a credit to who he is and what he stands for.”
With Walsh possibly sidelined for the remainder of the season, that means Enid native Clint Chelf will move into the backup quarterback role — possibly even getting the start Saturday against TCU if there is still concerns over the health of Lunt.
“I said in the spring that we have three guys who are pretty good players. I thought they all played well in the spring. The margin wasn’t extreme between them — there wasn’t a cavernous gap,” OSU offensive coordinator Todd Monken said. “We just had made decisions on where we thought they were then, and where they could improve. A lot of times you go with the younger guys because they have such a gap where they can improve. I’m confident that we can win with either guy, just like I was confident when it was J.W.”
With all the wondering swirling around the quarterback position, Gundy wasn’t willing to clear any of it up. Though he’s stated the past two weeks that Lunt could have played since the Kansas game if needed, he was not willing to confirm Lunt as Saturday’s starting quarterback.
“We have Wes, who has practiced, and we have Clint Chelf. We have enough reps for both of them to get quality work in order for them to play on Saturday,” Gundy said. “Because we do move so fast in practice, it gives us a chance to get guys enough work. You guys are familiar with Wes. Clint is a lot like J.W. in the way he plays. He throws it and runs it some. That’s really where we’re at. There’s not any other information.”