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I’ve Finally Fallen in Love with J.W. Walsh

Why QB2 has won me over after five years.



I have seen the light, everyone. His name is Mason Rudolph and my almost-two-year-old has never seen him lose a Bedlam game. J.W. Walsh calls Rudolph “the man” when given one word to describe him. He’s so good, he needs two.

OK, I’m kidding about all that. I mean, Rudolph is great, yes, but the real light I have seen is coming from the best backup in the country outside of Ohio.

I’ve written more about J.W. Walsh this preseason than I have Rudolph and with good reason. As has been incredibly well-documented, I was never the biggest “Walsh as a starting QB in the Big 12” fan. He’s the ultimate backup in a sport that often relies heavily on its backups.

I was often skewered for hating Walsh even though I never actually hated him. I simply thought he wasn’t good enough to be a starting QB at OSU. Whether I was right is inconsequential because the beginning of OSU’s 2015 campaign has (finally) forced my hand.

I’ve fallen in love with J.W. Walsh. The General. The Gamer. The Ultimate Cowboy.

Here’s why.

Walsh has stepped aside for the Chosen One (Rudolph) in the most eloquent fashion possible since Rudolph took down Bob Stoops and Co. last December.

Even though transferring and (probably) playing was a legitimate option (Walsh has already graduated), he delved into the program even further even though he knew he’d never truly command the ship again.

“He’s kind of like an older brother, I’d say,” Rudolph told the Tulsa World. “J.W. is one of the best people I’ve ever met in my life. He’s been a tremendous help.”

I don’t know J.W. Walsh on a personal level. He might be the worst dude in the world. But that quote from Rudolph tells me a lot about who he is as a teammate and as a leader within the football program in Stillwater.

“I’m one of the oldest guys here. I’m definitely the guy who’s been here the longest,” Walsh confirmed to Go Pokes. “I’ve got a lot of experience, a lot of knowledge and I want to pass that down to the other guys.

“I feel like I know what it takes to win football games. I’ve been on teams that have been really successful here, I’ve been on teams that didn’t quite meet the expectations, and I want to help these guys understand what it’s going to take to win football games and be champions. I think that’s my biggest role on the team.”

It was always unfair to cast our Brandon Weeden-sized expectations upon Walsh’s much more modest frame. He never shied away from the role, but his own expectations were always a step ahead of his physical ability.

“As you get older, you start to understand your game a little bit more, what you can and can’t do,” Walsh told the Oklahoman recently.

“(I’m) older and more mature. I’ve been around now for five years, I’ve seen a lot of things,” said Walsh. “I’ve experienced a lot of things you can learn from and use later on in life that you didn’t really think that you would. You just have to get to the point where you’re on the way out that you begin to see it.”

That’s the thing about college, right? When you finally feel like you have your finger on what matters and what doesn’t, you have to re-enter the real world. It’s a cruel thing.

“When I first got here there was nothing more important to me than football, but those injuries … it was almost like it was taken away from me at the time,” Walsh continued to Go Pokes. “It was a tough thing to go through but to be able to say I’ve been able to come through them I would say they were learning opportunities. I wouldn’t call them disappointments. They were great learning opportunities for the future.”

A future that is clearly bright both in the short term (this fall) and in the long (his next 60 years on the planet).

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