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Mason Rudolph and J.W. Walsh will both be Critical to Success this Season



Mason Rudolph is QB1. You know it. I know it. Heck, Gundy uncharacteristically named him the starter in the spring. Because he knew it. Rudolph brought a unique dynamic in his 3 appearances last season, going 2-1 and knocking off rival Oklahoma in a Bedlam thriller.

It’s not something you can really put a finger on, but Rudolph has been said to have the “It” factor, a quality that has helped propel him to earn the starting job. Moving forward, Rudolph has the full support of the fan base, and more importantly the head ball coach. “He’s the leader on offense … I like where he’s at at this time,” Gundy said at the Big 12 media days.

“I think if we play well and we take care of the ball, that we’ll have an opportunity to win this league,” he said. Having a developing quarterback in Rudolph, being smart and taking care of the ball are qualities that Gundy will value now more than ever in his young quarterback.

With a (mostly) redshirt season in the books, Rudolph also has a full offseason of preparation as a starter, and the backing of the head coach and his team. Not the least of which is former starter J.W. Walsh, who is one of the most, if not THE most, important player on the OSU roster who won’t be on the first team.

“His role is very important to our team,” Gundy told The Oklahoman in January. “We all have to have players that can make plays on Saturdays in order to have success. But there’s also a role for young men that want to be a part of a team and compete. There’s a trust factor. They’re tough. They understand the system. They love Oklahoma State football. He falls in that category. We’re looking forward to him getting healthy and competing again.”

Those comments were after a very impressive Cactus Bowl performance by Mason Rudolph, who messed around and made a statement as the starting quarterback. That’s because Gundy knew Walsh would be needed moving forward.

“We’re very lucky to have J.W. Walsh on our football team,” Gundy reiterated this morning. “J.W. is going to play. He’ll be a factor in the success of our football team this season,” he said.

More than likely, the offense may have several wrinkles in a “Walsh” package, that caters more to the skills of Walsh – a dual-threat option and home run threat when he finds the open field. Remember this from last season’s opening game at JerryWorld?

Walsh’s presence on the practice field, his veteran leadership in the locker room, and his poise in live game situations will be critical to the continued development of Mason Rudolph – and could be a bigger factor to the team’s success this season than some think.

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