November 15, 2012

The question lingers once again: Who should be QB 1?

Well, here we stand at the beginning of another game weekend full of questions.

The biggest one of all is the one that hasn't really changed much since the first possession of the Louisiana game when starting quarterback Wes Lunt went down with a knee injury.

After that, it was J.W. Walsh's emergence as a solid quarterback that gives the Cowboys a chance to win any game, but his fifteen minutes of fame ended after a "season-ending" leg injury against Iowa State. Or at least that's what we thought until last Saturday, when Walsh was warming up before the game in full gear.

After Walsh's injury, Lunt returned, but again went down with what most believe to be a concussion against Kansas State.

That's when third-string quarterback Clint Chelf got his chance, and he capitalized by coming up just short of putting Oklahoma State back in the game with what's now the top-ranked team in the nation.

Last week, he got his first start of his career, and took advantage once again by tossing four touchdown passes against the West Virginia Mountaineers, who were picked by many to win the conference in preseason polls.

After the game, offensive coordinator Todd Monken was quoted saying every quarterback on their roster was at available and medically cleared, but it's hard to believe with a concussion and a fracture, so it didn't surprise anyone that Chelf was the starter.

But now, Oklahoma State's entering the home stretch of their schedule, and the age-old question is being screamed by fans all around the country-Who's the quarterback?
Judging by performances from every quarterback this season, it's really a simple answer. Clint Chelf should be the starter for Texas Tech this weekend, and the remainder of the season.

Lunt is everything he was hyped up to be. He has the rocket arm, he has the football brain, and he has the eyes that can work through progressions about as fast as lightening strikes. He's the future of the program, but there has to be a point when coach Mike Gundy hangs him up for the year. Two injuries have plagued him, and when he's been in he hasn't necessarily looked phenomenal. Yes, he has the physical tools, but it's obvious he's not comfortable just yet.

Then there's Walsh, who suffered a fracture just below his knee. Based on where the team was in their schedule, Walsh was expected to be on the shelf until at least the bowl game due to rehabilitation time, but the miraculous redshirt freshman pulled another magic trick and somehow got back into the mix at some point last week. Yes, he's the best competitor on the roster, and a proven winner, but you can't trust that fracture especially when it's so close to his knee. Outside of that, the offensive playbook is trimmed down mightily with him behind center due to lacking arm strength.

Could he be the starter in this offense someday? With a lot of shoulder and accuracy work, absolutely, but the combination of that fracture and the offense's limitations with him in, there's no reason to risk him or the season by throwing him back to the wolves this season.

With that in mind, and yes I know it's a lot, Chelf should be the quarterback going forward. He's been in the program for what seems like a decade now, and that showed in the Kansas State game when he came in and looked extremely comfortable. He's a great balance of Lunt and Walsh in that he can make most of the throws on the field, but he can also pull it down and run it if need be. Outside of that, he grabbed the support of the entire fan base before last week's game when it wasn't known if he'd be starting or not, and that showed when he jogged out onto the field as every fan in the stadium stood and roared in support of him.

Would anyone have a problem with either of the other two starting the remainder of the season? I doubt it, just because there's a reason Chelf was the third-string quarterback coming into the year. But with how this season's gone and how well the junior has played in the last two games, you can't take it from him.

Chelf should be starting the rest of the year, and the quarterback situation should be revisited in the offseason.

It only makes sense.

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