Is Gundy Too Protective Of Quarterbacks?

I received a phone call Monday on my radio show from an Oklahoma State fan who was fairly worked up and frustrated that Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy is not allowing either Clint Chelf or J.W. Walsh to speak with the media. The caller was well spoken and said he felt that Gundy was depriving Chelf of the benefits of being a starting quarterback.

The senior from Enid, Okla. had a really good game in Lubbock by completing 18-of-34 passing for 211 yards and two touchdowns. Chelf also threw two interceptions, including a pick six when Texas Tech dropped a defensive end in a zone blitz. Chelf really stood out on the ground with 88 rushing yards including two touchdowns, one a highlight reel 67-yard scoring run through the heart of the Red Raiders defense.

"He's gotten a little bit better each week," Gundy said. "He didn't throw the ball as well as we would've wanted him to in Iowa. He started showing signs of being successful. I think that with the personal that we have, we're trying to get a feel for where we are going offensively. It gives him the chance to get better."

Offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich also gets asked about Chelf frequently as Chelf is not brought to the postgame news conferences or the Monday news conference events.

Yurcich said Monday that Chelf's performance was not unexpected to him. "I wasn't surprised. I knew he was capable of playing like that," Yurcich responded. "He displayed some mental toughness. He has some great leadership skills, and from an experience standpoint, that's what he brings. It was good to see him play like that."

The caller to my show was not alone as several people have told me that Gundy was criticized for his decision, ranging from some media members questioning why Chelf, a senior, would be held out from media opportunities to the yelling and belligerent attitude of some radio personalities demanding that Gundy change his mind.

Yeah, those folks are going to get a response. Gundy is a former quarterback himself and he has always been protective of players of the same position. He knows the criticism that comes with playing that position. He played there and he also saw how the media treated his younger brother, Cale, when he quarterbacked at Oklahoma.

Remember the famous rant was the result of what Gundy felt was unfair criticism of a quarterback who lost his starting job to a teammate in midseason.

Gundy has seen the media weigh in on the quarterback situation that has gone from Clint Chelf to J.W. Walsh and back to Clint Chelf. Prior to that, after the spring, talented strong arm sophomore-to-be quarterback Wes Lunt transferred from Oklahoma State to Illinois.

Right or wrong, Gundy has seemed perturbed over the comparisons and critiques of both quarterbacks. The final straw may have come on Saturday when columnist Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman wrote a column on how he thought that starting Chelf at Texas Tech was the wrong choice.

He wasn't below the belt with his comments, but you'd have to guess friends and family of Chelf didn't or wouldn't enjoy reading it. To top it off Tramel was wrong. How wrong? Well, the Big 12 Conference did name Chelf the Offensive Player of the Week.

On Sunday night during his teleconference, Gundy clearly answered the question when the quarterbacks would be able to be interviewed again. "After the season," answered Gundy.

He was asked to explain.

"Ever since we have started the year, there has been nothing but media opinion on who should play quarterback," Gundy explained. "And there is not really anything they can say about themselves or each other that is productive for the overall chemistry of the team. And me neither. There is not really anything I can say about it. So it's better off just to let them go until the season is over and then let them have an opportunity to communicate with everybody."

Now I can't do anything about any radio blowhards, nor would I want to. I can tell that caller that thinks Clint Chelf is deprived that Clint may not exactly see it that way. I saw Chelf after the game at Tech posing for pictures with some fans much more cute than anybody in the local media.

Chelf's lack of media responsibilities allows him to get out there and greet his friends and family that much quicker after games. I also noticed that he had color pictures on the front page of both The Oklahoman and The Tulsa World sports pages. I really don't think Chelf is being cheated out of anything too important.

Honestly, Chelf is doing a really good job of talking with his performance on the field.

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