It is understandable for Oklahoma State Cowboys fans to be feeling a little uneasy about the football program right now. Mike Gundy has to replace 28 seniors along with several other players who have graduated early or left the program. The Cowboys will have one of the nation’s youngest teams in 2014.
Oklahoma State is so inexperienced that Gundy chose to replace the annual spring game with a simple scrimmage. Oh, yeah, and the season opener is in Dallas versus the defending national champion Florida State Seminoles. Gundy will need players battling for a starting job to step up before the opener.
One of the positions up for grabs is quarterback. Clint Chelf has graduated, leaving the door open for junior J.W. Walsh. He has started eight games in his career. He saw significant action as a freshman and passed for more than 1,500 yards and 13 touchdowns to go along with seven rushing scores. Walsh regressed last season and lost the starting job to Chelf following a poor performance against the TCU Horned Frogs. He threw three passes the rest of the season.
This year, Walsh comes in as the most experienced signal caller on the roster.
His competition consists of freshman Mason Rudolph and walk-on Daxx Garman. Rudolph is a four-star recruit with a big arm. He enrolled early and participated in spring drills. Garman has been with the program for two years, but has never thrown a regular-season pass.
Gundy would love for Walsh to revert to his 2012 form and win the job. A young team needs veteran leadership, especially at the quarterback position. The fact that Gundy has not named his starter following spring practice is a sign that Walsh did not separate himself from the other quarterbacks. By all accounts, he had a very good spring. But so did Rudolph and Garman. If Gundy doesn’t want to name Walsh his starter over a true freshman and walk-on, should fans read into this a little deeper?
Perhaps in Gundy’s eyes, Walsh was good, but not good enough.
The question remains, then: which J.W. Walsh is going to show up this season? The job is his for the taking. He knows the offense.
It looks like Cowboys fans may have to wait until the season opener to find out which Walsh they have.