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August 4, 2012

J.W. Walsh to serve as Wes Lunt's backup

STILLWATER, Okla. — Wes Lunt may be the starting quarterback for Oklahoma State, but he may not be the only quarterback playing for the Cowboys in key situations this season.

Mike Gundy made it known Saturday during OSU’s Football Media Day that redshirt freshman quarterback J.W. Walsh is the team’s backup to Lunt — and that offensive coordinator Todd Monken is working to find ways to get Walsh on the field.

“J.W. is our backup,” Gundy said. “... From what I understand, there are a certain set of plays that we think he’s more effective at than maybe Wes. And if he were to get in the game, we would still run our offense, but (Monken) would lean towards those plays.”

Gundy mentioned during Big 12 Football Media Days in Dallas last month that he will make it a point to get anybody on the field who he thinks will help the team win — including Walsh.

“There’s always discussions on trying to get any player involved in our team, on offense or defense, that can help us win or deserves it,” Gundy said. “... We would love to find ways to get (Walsh) involved, and ultimately, I think we will.”

While he may be slotted as QB2, Walsh said it’s a great sign that coaches are trying to find ways to get him on the field.

“It’s nice to know you’re always wanted on the field. But as far as what plays and packages it will be, that’s their call,” Walsh said. “I’m just making sure I’m prepared for whenever I am on the field and making sure the guys around me are prepared.”

That preparation began this summer. Walsh said he took what he was told in the spring as things to work on and focused on those negative tendencies during the summer months.

“When I had my final meeting with coach Monken in the spring, he pointed some little things out that would help my game out a lot,” Walsh said. “I made sure over the summer that I worked on those little things as much as I could.

“It was just some footwork stuff and some throwing motion. And just making sure that I knew the playbook.”

Walsh’s improvement from the summer has been seen by Gundy.

“J.W. has made some throws and done some things in the first couple of days better than he did in the spring,” Gundy said.

Walsh attributes that to Monken, who has experience coaching NFL wide receivers before coming to Oklahoma State.

“My throwing ability has grown tremendously because of coach Monken. He’s a great coach and everything I do know throwing-wise and everything I’ve gained has been because of him,” Walsh said. “I feel that I’ve grown as a passer because of him.”

With Walsh growing as a passer in just his second year in the program, Gundy is reluctant to find Walsh a position on the field outside of the quarterback spot.

“We haven’t explored those options, because if something happens, he has to go in and play quarterback,” Gundy said. “And it’s hard enough to learn how to play quarterback at this level, let along learn another position right now.”

One thing is for certain, though. Walsh won’t be used like Kansas State’s Collin Klein or Oklahoma’s Blake Bell — as bruising big men out of the backfield.

“We don’t really see him as that kind of guy,” Gundy said. “The guy from Kansas State gets smashed and just keeps going. We’re not sure J.W. has the body for that kind of punishment.”

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