By Dave Ruthenberg, Sports Editor
Enid News and Eagle
Oklahoma State head football coach Mike Gundy may actually have been the happiest person in Stillwater when Sports Illustrated came out with its now pretty much discredited expose on Oklahoma State that uncovered more about SI’s sloppy fact checking than any wrongdoing within OSU’s football program.
It provided Gundy with a respite from being reminded of, and having to defend, his own words regarding the ongoing starting quarterback saga. A saga that got even murkier after J.W. Walsh’s shaky performance in OSU’s 30-21 loss to West Virginia, a team that rallied to overcome mighty William and Mary and got pasted 37-0 by Maryland.
Walsh, a redshirt sophomore, was completely ineffective in the game, going 20-of-47 with two critical interceptions. It was a performance that had social media buzzing and asking for a return to Enid’s Clint Chelf at quarterback.
However, after the game, Gundy said he never considered changing quarterbacks, saying it “never really crossed” his mind. But, can we trust anything Gundy says?
After all let’s recall his words in early spring, when he declared “Clint Chelf is our starter. He takes all the reps with the ones right now. The other guys compete out there, but I don't necessarily feel like there's a battle out there to start in the first game.” And it’s not like he can say he was misquoted as it came directly from an OSU release.
But later in the spring, after he drove Wes Lunt out of the program, he told everyone: “We’re going to play both guys (note by this time it was down to Chelf and Walsh). It hasn't changed since spring. Both quarterbacks have improved. I don’t know any other way to say it. It’s the same thing I've said for the last five months.”
The same as it had always been, except for when it wasn’t.
Then there this gem on Aug. 22: “I don’t know. It’s going to be hard for me to predict reps, but I don’t feel like either one of them will be a backup in the first game.” Huh?
Chelf did get to start the opener and was promptly yanked after two series against Mississippi State. The team was suffering some obvious jitters in the opening series and Chelf didn’t move the team on the second series. So much for Chelf’s opportunity as Gundy brought in Walsh who performed adequately in a 21-3 win.
After that game, Gundy told the Daily O’Collegian: “J.W. is our quarterback now. Clint could play, but I don’t have a time frame for that and I’m not sure we ever will.”
Next up were a pair of laughers against woefully overmatched Lamar and UTSA.
Then came the loss to the Mountaineers. Walsh was ineffective, but enough so to earn a spot on the bench? Not really, but with his handling of Chelf, Gundy certainly opened up that can of worms.
Gundy, who has perfected the art of double talk, finds himself in a bit of a quandary if Walsh stumbles this week against Kansas State.
Will he go to Chelf? You know, the guy who was the starter but really never was officially the starter but not the backup.
Maybe OSU should invite SI back on to campus. At least there was no doubt where they were coming from.
Ruthenberg is sports editor at the News & Eagle. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.