Chelf Or Walsh? It Will Be Game Time Decision

Clint Chelf

Let the guessing game begin. It may or may not be a competitive advantage for Oklahoma State against Iowa State on Saturday. But head coach Mike Gundy said Monday that he and his staff will game plan for Iowa State and watch both Clint Chelf and J.W. Walsh in practice before making a decision who will start when the Cowboys take the field at 11 a.m. Saturday for the kickoff of the Big 12 game.

"You just have to see how it goes," said Gundy answering one of a multitude of quarterback questions he fielded during his Monday news conference. "I don't think we can predict how it will go from this point forward.

"We're very open and honest with both of them, and I think that benefits our team. We just have to move forward and we're fortunate that they're good people. They're both good kids."

Both Chelf and Walsh are good kids, but both could play better and that would benefit the offense.

Walsh, who has started since the opening game and the third offensive series in Houston against Mississippi State, set a completion percentage record by completing 24-of-27 passes against UTSA for 326 yards and four touchdowns the second week of the season. That was the high point as he has struggled some in varying degrees in the passing offense since then.

Chelf came on Saturday after Walsh threw his second interception in the second quarter, and the fifth-year senior completed 10 of 25 passes for 178 yards with one interception.

"Both of our quarterbacks are legit players and are making plays," said wide receiver Tracy Moore, who dropped a long pass early in the game from Walsh and caught a 46-yard pass from Chelf for the longest completion of the game.

"Nobody is worried about who is playing quarterback or what Clint (Chelf) is going to bring to the table because they're both going to play now. It really doesn't matter who's starting or who's taking the first reps or who's taking the last snaps," said Moore.

OK, Moore isn't a coach but I think he is on to something there. Gundy was asked about it but kind of gave a flat answer that didn't tip his hand. Meanwhile, offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich didn't commit to the idea of playing both and finding the hot hand, but didn't say no either.

"I think it gives you some flexibility and I think what helps is that they are two unselfish individuals, so whenever you get that I think that is very beneficial," said Yurcich.

"I think it could happen," said inside receiver Josh Stewart, who was named Monday as Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week Josh Stewart. "I'm not in the coaches meeting rooms and I'm not sure what they are talking about but they both can play and we know that. So, whoever we come out with and make the final decision to use, then we will roll with it."

Yurcich has a lot of experience and has coached up some good quarterbacks, but he has never played two quarterbacks a significant amount in a season. "No," said Yurcich. "We feel we have two good quarterbacks and we need to make sure we are helping them improve and to play at a high level."

As the Cowboys search for the right quarterback to start at Iowa State, or the right quarterback to be in any game, the primary factors will be ball security and who can get the ball in the hands of the playmakers. Is that too simple?

"No, no, that is right on and I would agree with that," said Yurcich. "It really starts with ball security. That is what we preach. It is what we practice from a fundamental standpoint and it is what we are always working on. It is about what we have to have and it is about playmakers and trying to get them touches and create space for them. That is what we are trying to do."

That and deciding if one or the other -- or both -- are the best answer for the 5-1 Cowboys as they try to improve an offense that if matched with the already strong OSU defense could still deliver a very memorable season. The problem is we'll have to wait until Saturday morning to see what the coaching staff decides.

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