By Jeff Latzke, AP Sports Writer
Enid News and Eagle
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy doesn’t plan to announce who his starting quarterback will be anytime soon.
In fact, he might not do it at all.
Gundy said after the Cowboys’ annual spring game Saturday he doesn’t plan to discuss the three-way quarterback competition until after the team’s opener against Mississippi State on Aug. 31 in Houston.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that we would prefer that they not know exactly what to work on,” Gundy said. “They’re going to have all of our video, and we get theirs. There’s no secrets there. But it’s better for us if people don’t really know exactly what we’re doing, and it does make a difference in who we open with. There’s no question about that.”
OSU is in the unique situation of having three quarterbacks who won games as a starter last season. Wes Lunt was the starter at the beginning of the season, then yielded the spot to J.W. Walsh when he got hurt. An injury to Walsh then cleared the way for Enid’s Clint Chelf, who finished the season as the starter and has had first-string status through spring practice.
Chelf had 204 yards on 17-for-34 passing in the scrimmage with a 30-yard touchdown pass to Josh Stewart, and he was the only one of the three to go without an interception.
Walsh threw for 123 yards with one TD and one interception. Lunt had 122 yards passing with one interception and no TDs.
“We’ve got our guys in the position that we want them and they’re all working hard and they’ve all had really good springs. They’re all three better, and we’re fortunate that we have three,” Gundy said.
“We’ll continue to work them the way we feel like gives us the best chance to have success until the first game.”
A year ago, Gundy waited five days after the spring game to name Lunt the starter. But the Cowboys’ season opener in 2012 was against Savannah State, and it ended up being an 84-0 blowout.
He’s taking a different approach with a Southeastern Conference foe as the opening opponent.
“The stats they put up last year and the way that it was going during spring, you don’t even know who’s going to start,” said Stewart, who led the team with 101 catches for 1,210 yards last season.
“They could just draw something out of a bucket of which quarterback we’re going to start. We don’t know, and whoever we roll with, we’re going to be good with it.”
Even with the shuffling of quarterbacks last year, the Cowboys still ended up ranking seventh in the nation in passing offense and third in scoring. None of the quarterbacks were made available to reporters after the scrimmage.
“We have a plan in place and we’ve got three really good quarterbacks, so we’re going to just continue to move forward. There’s just not really much else we can say or the quarterbacks can say,” Gundy said.
“They’ve talked all they can talk. Until we play a game, we’ll just continue to stay with the plan that we have, what gives us the best chance to have success in the first game.”
In the scrimmage itself, it was the defense that stole the show. Cornerback Justin Gilbert, who went without an interception in a disappointing 2012 season, picked off two passes and returned them for a total of 108 yards. Linebacker Caleb Lavey scored a touchdown off of a 52-yard interception return for Chelf’s Orange team in a 17-7 victory.
The players say they’re OK with whoever wins the quarterback competition, and even they’re sworn to secrecy.
“It’s a lot of guys,” Smith said. “It’s amazing that you could just have that, really. I think we’re all blessed just to have those type of guys, and they’re not quitting (any) days and just keep competing against each other. Anybody could start.”
“They’re battling,” added receiver Tracy Moore. “They’re still fighting. They’re all going to play, so it really doesn’t matter who starts.”