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What a Brown/Sanders Two-QB System Would Look Like If Necessary

If Brown and Sanders split reps, it won’t be like the QB carousels we’ve seen in the past.



ARLINGTON, Texas — If the Oklahoma State offense has a two-quarterback system heading into Week 1, it won’t look much like the last time the Cowboys played two signal-callers.

The Dru Brown and Spencer Sanders quarterback battle isn’t like in 2015 when Mason Rudolph chunked a ball downfield then J.W. Walsh ran it in from the 5. Brown and Sanders have similar skill sets as dual-threat quarterbacks.

Gundy said there is no set blueprint for how to use both yet, just that both can be used if it came to that. Whether that would be the pair splitting halves or quarters or whatever the most efficient system would be, it isn’t a set in stone thing.

“Really don’t wanna burn a lot of brain cells on that until it’s presented to me,” Gundy said. “Have not thought about that because that’s another issue you’ve gotta deal with when playing two guys.”

It isn’t a sure deal that the Cowboys will go into Corvallis with the intent on using both guys, as the Pokes still have their fall camp to work something out. With that said, Sanders and Brown have been in a de facto competition with each other since both got to campus, so the time for one of them to stand out and take over on the practice field is running out.

“We’ve never really talked about (using two quarterbacks), but if it fell in our laps, that’s what we’ll do,” Gundy said. “If we get to a point a month from now, and we feel like both of them are playing well enough to play well in a game, or if neither one have taken the reins, then we’ll play both guys.”

In terms of similar-styled quarterbacks playing together, this is something OSU hasn’t seen since Walsh and Clint Chelf in 2013.

Chelf, the elder QB of the two, started that 2013 season against Mississippi State. After back-to-back three-and-outs to start the game, Walsh came in and led OSU to a 21-3 victory.

Walsh started the Cowboys next five games, but Chelf still played in all of those but one. Then against Iowa State in the Cowboys’ seventh game of the season, Chelf took back over and started the rest of the season. Here is how the two ended the year statistically.

Name Starts Games Played Passing Yards Passing Touchdowns Interceptions Rushing Yards Rushing Touchdowns
Clint Chelf 8 12 2,168 17 8 373 7
J.W. Walsh 5 8 1,333 9 5 294 3


As turbulent as the quarterback situation was in 2013, the Cowboys still managed to finish 10-3. That’s the same record the Cowboys finished with in 2015 when using Rudolph and Walsh.

In 2012, the Cowboys had a three-man quarterback battle among Chelf, Walsh and Wes Lunt. The three fought for the throne Brandon Weeden left open, but injuries played a major part in that battle.

What makes the 2013 Chelf/Walsh battle different from the Brown/Sanders battle is that Chelf and Walsh each had in-game experience at OSU thanks to the season before, something neither Sanders nor Brown have. It’d be like if injuries weren’t as big a factor in OSU’s 2012 quarterback battle.

A redshirt freshman, Sanders hasn’t taken a snap in college yet. Brown played in 25 games at Hawaii, but he has taken only one snap and handed it off with the Cowboys.

“Whoever plays, the way they play is very important,” Gundy said. “We try to simulate in practice and scrimmages and such, it’s extremely difficult. Crowd’s not involved. You could say there’s pressure, but not really.

“The one issue that we have, that there’s not a solution for, is that the guys that are competing for this job have never played at Oklahoma State. That’s not gonna go away. There’s no solution. We just gotta go play.”


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