Oklahoma State Football: Analyzing the Quarterback Question for 2013
When you think about it, the fact that the Oklahoma State Cowboys are 7-4 this season while playing three separate quarterbacks due to injury is pretty remarkable.
It's a testament to head coach Mike Gundy's ability to recruit and turn this program into one of the better ones in the country.
That said, because of the great depth that Gundy has brought in, the coaching staff is going to have a very hard decision to make this offseason.
All three of Oklahoma State's quarterbacks have played well this year, but who is going to be "the man" when the team enters it's 2013 campaign?
All statistics via ESPN
The Young Gun-Slinger
Season Stats: 1,096 yards, 6 TDs, 7 INTs, 62.5 CMP%
Key Games: 3 INTs @Arizona, 3 INTs @Kansas State
Wes Lunt won the starting job this past offseason due to his strong arm and pinpoint accuracy. He's shown just that at various times this season, looking like the heir-apparent to Brandon Weeden.
However, he's also shrunk in big away games and shown how difficult it is to beat good teams on the road with a true Freshman quarterback.
He's also been injured most of the season, which will probably lead to him being hit with the dreaded "injury-prone" label.
All that said, the fact that he is a true Freshman probably helps him. He's obviously got a ways to go before he's the "next big thing," but he has the tools to do it.
Look for Lunt to vastly improve in 2013, especially in big games as he becomes more comfortable with the offense.
The Wiley Veteran
Season Stats: 1,058 yards, 10 TDs, 4 INTs, 58.1 CMP%
Key Game: 316 total yards, 1 TD, 1 INT vs. OU
Clint Chelf doesn't have the pure skill sets of his contemporaries, but he has shown his poise on the road.
Chelf doesn't pass as well as Wes Lunt or run as well as J.W. Walsh; however, he is able to do both fairly well.
His game against the Oklahoma Sooners wasn't statistically impressive and he wasn't able to pick up the road win.
That said, he never looked bothered by the crowd and played a solid game under pressure.
In addition, offensive coordinator seems to be more comfortable opening up the playbook with Chelf at the helm.
Over the last few weeks we've seen quite a few gadget plays like this one against Texas Tech.
It's hard to say if Oklahoma State would've done better in the season with his veteran presence under center, but Chelf gives them something they lacked against teams like the Arizona Wildcats.
The Wild Card
Season Stats: 1,496 yards, 11 TDs, 3 INTs, 66.5 CMP%, 259 yards rushing, 5 rushing TDs.
Key Game: 358 total yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT vs. Texas
Walsh's performance against Texas was probably best game played by any Cowboys' quarterback this season, given the quality of opponent.
He was a revelation on both sides of the ball, completing 66.7 percent of his passes and averaging over seven yards per carry on his eight rushes.
Outside of that contest, he's been good, but not great. It was clear early in the season that Coach Gundy wanted more of a pure-passer and that's why Walsh lost the QB battle in training camp.
That said, the Cowboys have won in the past with a dual-threat quarterback.
Just a few years ago, Gundy's boys were 9-4 under Zac Robinson, another running QB.
As he enters the 2013 season, Coach Gundy is going to have to make a tough choice on which QB's talents he'll be taking to South Bea...err, Stillwater.
All jokes aside, this is going to be interesting offseason for the Cowboys.
Assuming that none of the quarterbacks decide to transfer away of the program (which isn't out of the cards given their talent), this is pretty much anyone's job to win.
Going off current production, I'd like to see Chelf helming this team from the beginning of 2013 due to his poise and leadership.
That said, another offseason could be just what the doctor ordered for Wes Lunt.
It's possible that his develop over that time period will see him be more comfortable in a hostile environment.
It's also worth noting that the best medicine could be to throw him into the fire again and make him learn how to play big in big games.
Walsh is obviously the X-Factor. He's looked really good in his goal-line role recently and that could be where he's best suited going forward.
After all, the Oklahoma Sooners have Blake Bell AKA the Bell-dozer, why shouldn't the Cowboys have their own goal-line and short yardage specialist?
No matter who suits up though, you have to like the depth Coach Gundy has brought in across the board. It shows that this program is going in the right direction and should be a force to be reckoned with in the coming seasons.
Predicted 2013 Starter: Wes Lunt