Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

October 12, 2012

OSU senior center getting accustomed to quarterbacks in backfield

STILLWATER — While the world waits and wonders when Wes Lunt will make his return as the Oklahoma State starting quarterback, there is one man on the Cowboy football team not worried about who is in the backfield — even though he is the man that the quarterback is most dependent on.

Whether its Lunt or redshirt freshman J.W. Walsh, starting senior center Evan Epstein will just roll with the punches and make the necessary tweaks needed for the different quarterbacks.

Fortunately for the senior center, who is starting for the first time in his collegiate career this season, he spent much of the spring season working with all the quarterbacks.

“That’s the greatest thing about the spring with the quarterback competition going on was that I got time in with every single quarterback,” Epstein said. “So honestly, with J.W. back there nothing is really too much different. It’s just another quarterback that I’m really used to working for. It’s really not as much of an issue as people would think.”

For Walsh, that spring experience also helped him become comfortable with the man snapping him the ball.

“Getting to work with all the centers in the spring was big because you are able to learn the tendencies,” Walsh said. “Some of them snap it harder, or snap it to the left or right a little bit more. So it helps a lot to know where the ball is going to be with each guy and where they are going to be best picking things up at.”

What about the tendencies of Epstein?

“I really couldn’t tell you because his snaps have been really well,” Walsh said. “Maybe every once in a while he’ll put one on the ground in practice — but that’s once every like five practices, so it’s not a big deal. He’s done really well so he doesn’t have any negative tendencies that I can see.”

So now, with Walsh playing the last two games and potentially starting his second straight game behind center, having Epstein snapping the ball in the middle of the offensive line is a huge benefit for whomever is behind him.

“Evan is phenomenal. He’s always in the film room, always after practice working on things,” Walsh said. “He makes things easier for me and Wes, because we get back there and point out things and he’s picking things up and making things right. It helps to have a guy like him to be helping us out.”

That just made it all the more difficult for Epstein when he had to sit for the Louisiana-Lafayette game after sustaining an injury in the loss to Arizona. Instead of being able to get back out there and fix things, he had to wait three weeks before getting back out in a game.

“You hate to not play — especially in your last year. I want to be out there every single game,” Epstein said. “Having to miss that game was rough. It was hard not getting to practice some things that I really, really wanted to focus on immediately after the Arizona game. But I got to watch Texas film for three weeks straight and I think that really helped me in that game.”

As for tendencies from the quarterback position, Epstein said there isn’t much between the two freshman quarterbacks — even if one is more likely to scramble (Walsh) than the other (Lunt).

“They are all different guys. Wes is still coming into his own and J.W. has been here a little longer and is a little more comfortable with the guys,” Epstein said. “But as far as what we do and what we’re focused on, there is very, very minimal difference.”

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