“One thing I’ll say about J.W., and I said it after (Louisiana), that I was proud of him; the way he came in and competed,” head coach Mike Gundy said. “I was proud of him tonight, the way he came in and competed. He made some mistakes. But again, there’s a learning curve that goes on when you’re a freshman.”
Since taking the starting job one series into the Louisiana game, it’s been a series of emotional highs and lows for Walsh -- easily defeating Louisiana, falling to Texas.
“It caught (Walsh) off guard, definitely, coming in for Wes,” wide receiver Josh Stewart said. “I think, and not just because he’s a friend, he’s done a good job. There’s some stuff he can fix. There’s some stuff we’ve all got to fix. Other than that, I think he’s a good player and he’s going to continue to get better and learn.”
Never mind that the redshirt freshman passed for 301 yards and rushed for 71 more against possibly the Big 12’s best defense on Saturday. Forget that the Cowboys’ defense gave up 440 yards of offense and couldn’t stop the Longhorns all night on third and fourth down.
Walsh is the backup quarterback, and starter Wes Lunt has two weeks to regain health before the Cowboys face Kansas on Oct. 13. And in truth, it’s fair if Walsh is replaced. There’s a reason why Lunt was named the quarterback in the spring. But make no mistake, Walsh is no sub-par backup.
“I promise you he had no more mistakes than I did calling the game,” offensive coordinator Todd Monken said. “I promise you.”
Monken can break down the obvious differences of what sets Walsh and Lunt apart, but it’s not the product on the field that is most different – it’s how the two players approach the game.
“They’re built differently,” Monken said. “Wes is much calmer, his demeanor is calmer, his body language, those kind of things. J-dub is a heart-beats-like-a-dog leader, always in front. That’s just him.”
Monken said there won’t be any decisions made on who the starter will be against Kansas, but it’s clear that Lunt will start over Walsh if healthy.
“I know (Lunt) is in great spirits,” Monken said. “He wants to be back and we want him back.”
Running back Joseph Randle said not to worry about Walsh’s psyche if he is on the sidelines for the Cowboys’ next game. He watched how Walsh handled it the first time Lunt was named the starter.
“I’m sure he’ll come and work hard just like he did when he was second string,” Randle said. “He’s always worked hard, even from this summer. They named (Lunt) the starter last spring and (Walsh) was probably one of the hardest working guys on the team. That’s why we all have so much respect for him.”
Walsh, as he always has shown, remained positive about the outlook for the Cowboys’ next game, regardless of his role.
“You go to the film tomorrow, you make your corrections,” Walsh said. “Then you move forward and on to your next opponent.”