Chelf Drawing Praise From Teammates, Coaches

On the heels of what coach Gundy described as the best scrimmage he's had in his seven years in Stillwater, several players received a great deal of credit for their efforts. Among the most discussed was backup quarterback Clint Chelf.

Chelf, a sophomore from Enid, played well in spot duty for the Cowboys last season, totaling 213 yards and two touchdowns on 14-of-19 passing.

Coach Mike Gundy said he has been impressed with what he's seen from Chelf this fall and indicated that Chelf is settling into the backup role nicely.

"I feel a lot better than I did at this time last year, which is to be expected," Gundy said. "I feel better about him now than I did when we started on the fourth or fifth. He has a long way to go but I like his demeanor and I like his work ethic."

OSU All-American wide receiver Justin Blackmon seconded his coach's evaluation.

"I feel way more confident in him today than a year ago. Last year, he was good. Now he knows the offense, he knows the system, he knows when we check plays," Blackmon said. "He's not out there guessing and he actually knows his stuff now. I'm a lot more confident in him and he's more confident in himself. You can see that on the tape."

And that boost in confidence isn't just in the eye of the beholder, Chelf said the greatest development in his game this offseason has been on the mental side of it and his confidence has grown as he has become more acclimated to the offense and his role on the team.

"I feel great; I've come a long way," Chelf said. "It was tough when I got here but I understand the offense better now and I'm just getting better at football every day. I've been focusing a lot on the things I need to work on, whether it's my footwork or getting command of the offense, my focus is to get better every day and I really appreciate that the coaches have taken notice, that means a lot.

"A year ago, my head was spinning. I didn't know if I was coming or going but now it's all slowed down and I'm feeling the reads and making the throws with a clear mind. My mentality and comfort is where I think the biggest strides have come."

Perhaps the greatest compliment Chelf has received in the early going of fall camp came from his mentor and OSU's starting QB, Brandon Weeden. Chelf and Weeden have been working with one another extensively so far this fall and all summer and Weeden showered praise on his understudy.

"He's making tremendous strides; he has total command of the offense," Weeden said. "He's a smart guy and he really gets what we're trying to do and now he can make all the throws. He's been working on his fundamentals and his footwork, among other things, and his arm strength has improved drastically. Today he made a lot of plays by using his mind and then delivering an accurate ball to give our guys opportunities to make plays out of the right spots. I'm very impressed with him.

"We throw it around a lot and work with each other a lot I can tell you this: he gets it. He has a chance to be really, really good."

Chelf said Weeden has played a huge role in the progress he's been able to make, not only from a maturity and experience standpoint, but also because Weeden honed his skills in a backup role behind Zac Robinson.

"He's one of the best mentors anybody could ever have," Chelf said. "He's mature but, at the same time, he's just one of the guys. He's a leader, he's fun to be around and he's helped me out more than he probably knows. I try to watch everything he does and learn from it. It would be a major mistake on my part if I didn't."

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