Todd Monken Preparing Both Lunt, Walsh

The odds are that redshirt freshman J.W. Walsh will be Oklahoma State's starting quarterback against Texas on Saturday night. However, Cowboys offensive coordinator Todd Monken and head coach Mike Gundy both said during Monday's media gathering that Wes Lunt is making progress and the true freshman could be ready to face the Longhorns.

"We spent time on Texas. We wanted to go into the week having an idea of what we were going to do against them," said Monken. "When you are still trying to figure out who your quarterback is, you have to have a plan for both.

"We will know more this week about Wes's condition. We spent most of the week on some of the things we need to get better at. We don't change that much. What we do is what we do. We will tweak things here or there. We got some of our young guys some more reps."

Monken has been steadfast in saying that you can't change your offense, and that it stays the same for both quarterbacks. But you can play to each one's strengths.

Walsh's strength is making some plays with his legs. In fact, in the Cowboys' record-setting 742-yard performance by the offense against Louisiana-Lafayette, Walsh rushed six times for 73 yards. Monken explained that one was a called run, the other a zone read that Walsh kept and the other four were scrambles off called passes.

Those are the ones that will drive defensive coordinators like Texas' Manny Diaz nuts.

"You can only practice so much and anticipate what someone is going to do when they get into the game," said the offensive play caller of his situation adjusting to Walsh. "I think when you say as a barometer, as we get further into it, we will find out more about whoever our quarterback is whether is J.W. Walsh or Wes Lunt.

"It was nice to be able to see J.W. get in there and compete. As the game went on, he got more and more comfortable. I don't think it was ever a matter of confidence or toughness. It is just a matter of him being able to go out there and make more plays. It isn't always about the big plays they make; you just want to shrink all the negative plays that keep you from being efficient."

Last year against Texas, the Cowboys had few negative plays and they were almost totally balanced with 218 passing yards and 202 rushing yards on 27 carries.

Jeremy Smith's touchdown runs of 30 and 74 yards helped as the Cowboys averaged 7.5 yards per carry.

Monken says the Texas defense is similar to last season, but the Cowboys offense has a different makeup.

"They are very similar. They have seven starters coming back, so the majority of their defense is back," Monken explained. "They are aggressive and well-coached.

"You have to do what you do better than they defend it. They give you a number of looks to try and disrupt what you're doing. You have to make sure you are sound in everything you do. I think they do a really good job and their guys play hard. They fly around the football.

"I thought they played well last year. Last year's game, we had a couple of big plays. We had two big runs that accounted for half or more of our run game. That was attributed to them mis-hitting. We got those big plays because of our ability to throw the ball. We had Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon. It is going to be a little bit different this year.

"Obviously, we are not that same team. Whether it is Wes or J.W., we don't have an older quarterback or that same receiving corps. We have good players though. We will have to be a more versatile. We have to run and throw it."

What they have is a quarterback that can run and he can also pass a little, and that guy is completely healthy. They also have a guy that can really throw, but his health is questionable heading into the week.

Texas had better prepare for both quarterbacks. In the end, expect a very interesting scenario to play out on Saturday night. Get ready for it because it will be that way most weeks in the Big 12 Conference.


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