By JASON ELMQUIST
STILLWATER — Mike Gundy broke his vow of silence during Thursday’s media luncheon at Boone Pickens Stadium.
Proclaiming after the spring game that he would not discuss the quarterback position until after the first game of the year, the Oklahoma State coach gave some insight into the battle between senior Clint Chelf and redshirt sophomore J.W. Walsh.
“We’re going to play both guys. It hasn’t changed since the spring,” Gundy said. “Both quarterbacks have improved. I don’t know any other way to say it.
“It’s the same thing I’ve said for the last five months. Both guys are doing a good job. We’re glad we have them. They’ll both get a chance to play.”
Seeing both Chelf and Walsh on the field during a game isn’t anything new.
Oklahoma State utilized both quarterbacks during the final few games of last year’s schedule. While Chelf got the starting nod the final five games — leading the Cowboys to a 3-2 record and a Heart of Dallas Bowl win over Purdue — Walsh was brought in for short-yardage and red zone packages.
“It’s going to be hard for me to predict reps, but I don’t feel like either one of them will be a backup in the first game,” the OSU coach said.
Gundy has been an opponent of a two-quarterback system in the past, but has been singing a slightly different tune due to the team’s current situation.
“I don’t like two-quarterback systems if we have one that’s better than the other, one that’s more experienced,” Gundy said. “Each year is different. Now we have two quarterbacks who have relatively the same amount of experience. So we’re obligated to give both of them an opportunity to play in the game. We feel like they can each provide something for the team to give us a chance to be successful this year.”
The Cowboy coach also has his players preaching the same stance when asking about the quarterback position.
“They are doing a great job. I really can’t choose either one,” OSU running back Jeremy Smith said. “Both are showing some really great things, and you just have to look out for both of them. I get reps with both of them every single time. Again, they are both really talented and know what they’re doing.”
While Gundy didn’t go as far as to naming his starting quarterback, he did name a starter for another position looking to be filled. Just a few weeks after naming freshman Ben Grogan as the team’s starting place kicker, he announced junior Kip Smith — a Broomfield, Colo., native who had transferred from UCLA, where he started as a freshman before a leg injury derailed his career with the Bruins — would take over the punting duties left open by the graduation of Quinn Sharp.