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Mason Rudolph Is (Still) the Truth



I wrote a fairly lofty post about Mason Rudolph after his first game against Central Michigan. He’s looked shaky in spots since then and downright egregious for a quarter against Texas on Saturday which led to all sorts of irrational consternation on social media about what the QB situation in Stillwater should actually be.

No bother though. Mason Rudolph is still the truth.

Nobody wants their baby-faced kid king laced with a few still-growing-up pimples, but that’s what Saturday reminded us of. Rudolph is still young enough to not have been rid of the blemishes that often come alongside with franchise QBs.

“He’s been pretty good with things like that — for as early and as young as he is in his career,” Gundy said. “… Two things. Today was his, I think, seventh game, so he’s kind of running out of the ‘early in his career’ (excuse). He needs to pick it up a little bit. But this is the best team he’s played this year. This team has got speed, they’ve got size and they’ve got strength. He is early in his career, but he needs to play better, period.”

Heck, Brandon Weeden threw two or more picks in nine games in his college career. Nobody was calling for his spot to be handed to J.W. Walsh or Clint Chelf.

I was disappointed with Mike Gundy’s benching of Rudolph in favor of J.W. Walsh in the 4th quarter, but I understand what he was doing. He’s afforded a little leeway here because Walsh plays in various situations. That’s a privilege most coaches don’t have.

If you put in QB2 for QB1 at most schools, there’s an auto-controversy. Gundy can write it off by saying, “trying to help the run game and we have packages for Walsh and we felt like we were going to use them then and I have to coach and think at the same time and stop asking me these questions!”

Must be nice.

That fourth quarter was the biggest cluster I’ve seen in quite a while for OSU (maybe this is what we get when Mike Yurcich traipses down to the field?) This stuff happens, though, and just because Gundy is afforded a safety net in Walsh doesn’t mean anything has changed when it comes to who’s starting.

The way Rudolph guided the ship in that first quarter was impressive. I noted this in something I wrote on Saturday night after the game (it’s all a blur) but on OSU’s first two drives it rushed for 11 yards and threw for 119.

There’s a part of me that thinks Mike and Mike would rather play Walsh than Rudolph because No. 4 represents the safer option. As we discussed last week, this team is hell bent on creating a positive turnover margin and winning with defense. This is why Gundy is so tough on Rudolph when he turns it over.

But playing Walsh is a nonstarter because Rudolph is too good and represents too big of a threat to opposing defense to keep him away.

Clearly, he was not the same after the fumble-six. Gundy pointed out he had a menial hand injury and that could have factored in. I’m guessing his first road Big 12 game as the favorite factored in more.

Did you expect perfection out of him? Did you expect that there wouldn’t be bumps along the way?

Rudolph had all the right answers on Saturday (start it at 3:15 below).

“It’s always good to have some adversity early on in the season,” said Rudolph on Saturday. “When it’s going against you, when it’s going against me, when it’s going against the offense, it’s always good to see your team rally.

“We’ve (alternated) a little bit up to this point. I’m trying to win. I’m trying to be the best player I can be for Oklahoma State. Whoever that’s going to be. If we’re going to switch out. We’re just happy to get the win.”

My hope now is that OSU doesn’t try to put the shackles back on No. 2. Go watch that first quarter over again. He was lights out. He completed 8/9 for 130 yards and a TD in the first quarter. Then Yurcich put on his “Make America Great Again” hat and went uber conservative.[1. OK, it’s not all Yurcich’s fault. I just needed to get rid of the Trump line.]

It feels like OSU is trying to graduate its young QB into high school and college without going through the growing pains middle school (and puberty) bring. Maybe that can work with your 29-year veteran (Walsh) filling in the gaps. Maybe not.

But make no mistake about what you’ve seen through 28 quarters with this kid. There will be valleys, for sure, there always are. And he’ll throw another back-breaking pick-six at some point. And he will struggle a little but succeed a lot. Maybe he’s not the perfect fit for this offense, but the franchise is the franchise. There’s not a lot you can do about it.

And Mason Rudolph is (still) the truth.

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