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The JW Walsh Experience

JW Walsh is an above average QB and I don’t know why anybody thought otherwise.



Photo Attribution: USATSI

Photo Attribution: USATSI

I guess I’m surprised that you’re surprised.

After the game on Saturday I saw and read a lot of “wow, I can’t believe the way Walsh threw the ball, I thought he was a much better passer than that.”


Did you watch the Kansas game last year, or the Iowa State game?

Sure, he looked better against UTSA — to the point that I wondered aloud whose arm he’d hocked on eBay in the offseason but nobody was ever confusing his arm with Brett Favre’s or, for that matter, Wes Lunt’s. Even in the Mississippi State and Lamar games he made some throws that made me gasp out loud…and not in a “Brandon Weeden to Justin Blackmon in the ’09 Colorado game” kind of way.

Look, this isn’t me bailing on No. 4 one game into the conference season. Gundy made a decision that anyone in his position would have made, I think, and he should roll with it.[1. I’ll flip on this only if OSU loses 3-4 games in a row, which if you watched on Saturday doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility.]

But as I wrote after the Mississippi State game Walsh is fine as the starter and that’s about it. He’s a competitive dude and a really good runner and probably an above average college quarterback and that’s all.

I know we like to put players and teams at one end of the spectrum or the other because, let’s be honest, saying a player or team is “the best ever” or “the worst ever” is a heck of a lot more fun than saying it is “just all right and probably going to be a little bit average at times.”

That’s boring. I get it.

But that’s the reality of the situation — and likely will be for the next three years unless he gets usurped as QB1.

The amount of backpedaling I saw last weekend on Twitter and via email was almost comical. I was like “wait, aren’t I the one who’s supposed to be out on this guy?”

The Walsh we saw last week in Morgantown was not who we’ll see the rest of the season — I’m willing to bet money that’s the worst game he plays all year. But some of the terrible stuff he did in that game? Yeah, that’s not going away.

Everything he does poorly was on full display. I honestly don’t know if he can throw a football over 45 yards, his curl passes sail at times, he apparently makes poor choices at the line of scrimmage,[1. He audibled out of a run so he could throw a fade to Tracy Moore on second and goal from the 1-yard line.] and when Yurcich doesn’t design runs for him (specifically out of the diamond) he struggles to Johnny Football his way out of bad situations.

Those are things you can kind of hide when your offense is humming and your offensive line is blocking well for you and your receivers are making plays but let’s not act like he was ever going to be this elite, Heismanian quarterback.

You’re probably going to see a few more of these babies over the course of his career:

If you look back at his 2012 there was a lot more smoke and mirrors than anyone likes to admit. He beat Kansas, Iowa State, and Louisiana as the starter. That’s it.[1. I would say something here about how there’s a difference between being the starter on the Big 12 favorite and the backup against Iowa State on a team that had already lost a game but Walsh doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy who much cares if he’s playing a pickup game with three people watching or in front of 60K at a Big 12 game.]

The combined record of teams he’s beaten as the starter the last two years is 23-29,[1. As of 10/1/13.] and three of those wins are from Lamar this year and I can’t even imagine the teams Lamar is beating.

Should he have beaten Texas? Sure, but he didn’t, which kind of speaks to what I’m trying to show you.

He’s going to win some games and lose some games and do some electrifying stuff but also make some passes that make you wonder if he could start at QB on the five best A-League flag football teams at OSU. At his best he might be a slightly better version of Zac (certainly with more weapons at his dispoasl) which is why I can’t figure out why they refuse to run him more.

If you’re playing the guy who’s supposed to be this great running QB wouldn’t you, you know, call some designed runs for him?

All that stuff aside though, this is the guy everyone wanted and Gundy gave him to you. He satiated the masses and now the masses are wondering if they were right all along.

Gundy said it best on Monday at his press conference.

“They (the fans) loved JW when he wasn’t playing. Now he’s playing they don’t like him. That’s the society we live in.”

Collin Klein proved to us last year that you can win a conference title without a great passer. I think OSU can win the Big 12 with Walsh (I’ve always wondered about this but I really do think it) but I don’t know that they’re ever going to win one because of him.

There are big questions to be answered over the next few weeks from No. 4. He’s showed signs, for sure, but he’s a long way from where OSU needs him to be

Of course, given his makeup, I half expect him to come out on Saturday against Kansas State and throw for 440 and four with a buck thirty on the ground and after scoring on a slick 30-yard run in the 4th quarter pull up his jersey and reveal that “eff you @pistolsguy” shirt I know Jeremy Smith made for him.

This is all part of the JW Walsh Experience and for better or worse we’re all in on it for the next few years.

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