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J.W. Walsh is the new starter and that’s fine

I’ll buy what JW Walsh is selling, but let’s not crown him.



Photo Attribution: USATSI

Photo Attribution: USATSI

One of my least favorite things in sports is the Twitterfication of athletes.

We lionize dudes or utterly strip them bare based on singular seasons games quarters drives plays. If you aren’t participating (I usually am on some level) and really sit back and watch it unfold, it’s quite gross.

J.W. Walsh runs for 15 yards and a first down: dude’s probably the second best QB in school history behind Weeden depending on where you stand on normalizing Gundy’s passing stats!

Clint Chelf throws a bad screen pass: wish he would have been fired along with Bill Young last year even though he averaged 51 points a game in his five starts last season!

These are hyperbole, of course, but not too far from what I saw on Twitter for most of Saturday’s game against Mississippi State.

I un-ironically saw Walsh compared to the following people:

Brandon Weeden
Zac Robinson
Johnny Manziel
Tim Tebow

He was deemed the full-time, long-term starter after putting six points on the board against a not-very-good Mississippi State team in a neutral site game.

Hundreds of OSU fans digitally screamed “I told you so, all the dude does is win!” all afternoon.

Heck, he was quite nearly nudged into the freaking Heisman race and given his own wing in Heritage Hall.

A reminder:

All this for a dude who passed for 135 yards and zero touchdowns (yes, I know what he ran for) against that not-very-good Mississippi State team. And, uh, you guys saw this throw to a nobody-within-15-yards-of-him Desmond Roland, right?

That awful throw isn’t a big deal when you win by 18 but when you lose by two against Baylor in November? Big deal…

I think one misunderstanding about my feelings on the Walsh/Lunt/Chelf Ringling Bros. thing we’ve had going on for the last 18 months is that I loathe Walsh and want him to transfer to Syracuse or Washington State or somewhere else where we would never watch him heave a pass again.

That’s simply not true. I just like(d) Lunt and Chelf better — I thought they could do more for you. I think Walsh is great competitor and a solid player but I always felt like you had a better chance to win the Big 12 with those other two guys — last time I checked that was the purpose of picking a starting QB.

I do admit I fall in love with arms. I’ve always done this — whether with baseball or football or city league softball…really anything. Rafael Furcal could hit .120 and I would scream “play him!” at the TV screen at a decibel level that would alarm DeAndre Liggins’ neighbors (too soon?) because I love dudes that can throw. So yes, that might have influenced my love for Lunt a bit but I really thought, in the end, he could flat out play football.

Same for Chelf — if you would have showed the film of what Chelf did in Norman last year to 1973 OSU fan or 1983 OSU fan or 1993 OSU fan they all would have wept into your iPad screen and whispered “can I touch him?”

Would Walsh have done the same thing Chelf did in Norman or would we have even won with him? I don’t know — all I know is that I watched a fourth-year junior roll in there like he gave zero effs and nearly become just the second OSU QB in the Miles/Gundy era to beat OU in its house.

And I get that Chelf wasn’t that great on Saturday and why you put Walsh in and all that.[1. Though Chelf was only given seven plays.]

I get it.

After the game Gundy said [Walsh] will be our starter in the next game and that’s fine.

But that’s all it is…fine.

Walsh is a good player on a (potentially) great team that probably gets too much credit for its success, just as Chelf (or Lunt or Walsh if/when it happens) got too much blame for its failures. That’s just the nature of being a quarterback in 2013.

I’ll root for Walsh because he’s the quarterback at Oklahoma State[1. Or is it because I want to sell hundreds of unmade t-shirts and swim in all of the dollars?? The world may never know…] and I’ll try to write about and support him the way I’ve done with pretty much every other player at Oklahoma State in its history.[1. Wink wink at Jacob Lacey right now.]

I will say I was a little bummed during the Mississippi State game because I felt like Chelf got yanked around pretty hard by Gundy and last year he hung in and hung in when it would have been pretty easy to quit. So yeah, of course, I wanted him to succeed.

But I can buy what Walsh does (this doesn’t, by any stretch, mean I’m out on Chelf). He’s not going to Weeden you or anything, he might not even Landry you, but can he be a poor man’s Manziel (this is different than straight up comparing him to Manziel, FWIW) or a more elusive Zac? Sure, and if that’s what Gundy wants to roll with then that’s fine with me.

It’s also ok that I’m not head-over-heels in love with him and think he’s the best dual-threat QB in the history of the Big 12. A guy can just be “pretty good,” you know — he doesn’t have to be the best or worst ever at his position.

Let’s just reset our expectations on what this offense will be and the numbers it will put up. In the five games Walsh has either started or played the majority of OSU is averaging 28.8 points.

I get that there’s this whole thing outside of the stats thing and he “has a little eff you in him” and all of that. I think that matters and it means something and, with the right defense and a little luck, you can kind of hide the fact that Yurcich (apparently) doesn’t want to throw either 1.) down the field or 2.) over the middle with him.

But can it win you a Big 12 title?

I’m pretty fascinated to find out.

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