STILLWATER — Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy has nothing but praise for the toughness of his young quarterbacks, who are dealing with their share of injuries this season.
Redshirt freshman J.W. Walsh, who came on to fill in for injured true freshman Wes Lunt three games back, is likely to miss the remainder of the season after suffering a knee injury early in a 31-10 victory over then-No. 24 Iowa State this past weekend.
Lunt appears to be the early favorite to start Saturday afternoon when the Cowboys (4-2, 2-1 Big 12) host TCU (5-2, 2-2).
"The quarterback situation, we have Wes Lunt and we have Clint Chelf," head coach Mike Gundy said. "What we're going to do is we have enough reps for both of them to get quality work in order to play on Saturday. Because we do move so fast in practice that it gives us a chance to give guys enough work. Clint is a lot like J.W. in the way he plays. He can run it. There's not any other information."
Gundy got serious when addressing the toughness of Walsh.
"I'm very proud of what J.W. has given our football team," he said. "I'm disappointed for him that he can't continue to play. He competed on about 70 plays, give or take a few, after he had the injury he has right now. The guy has a very high tolerance for pain.
"We have guys that play with pain. He's more visible because he's the quarterback."
None of Walsh's teammates even knew he had been injured during the game.
"I didn't know he was hurt until he hobbled up on crutches on Sunday," said offensive lineman Lane Taylor. "I was like, 'Are you OK?' He said yes.
"It's not much different whether it's Wes or J.W. Our mindset is to keep the quarterback clean, have no sacks. Not much changes from our perspective. We definitely don't want (Wes) to get dinged up again. We'll keep him clean."
Charlie Moore said the wide receivers are comfortable with either quarterback.
"The coaches put in the game plan and we adjust," he said. "Whether it's Wes or J.W., we adjust to them."
Offensive coordinator Todd Monken said he asked Walsh if he was OK and the player said yes.
"I asked (J.W.) how he was doing and he said, 'It hurts a little bit but I'm fine,'" Monken said. "Last season he was out there running with the wide receivers. He wants to be first. You have to respect a guy like that. That's what is frustrating. He wants to prove he should be our guy. You feel more for him."
Monken said Walsh bounced up after the sack and limped back to the huddle.
"He didn't go to the ground, didn't come out," Monken said. "I asked if he was OK and he said 'I'm a little sore but I will be alright.' That's a guy who really wants to play."
As for going forward, Monken said, "Well, last week was Wes Lunt's first full week of working with us. We'll evaluate it and look at Clint and Wes. We worked our offense into using more of an athletic quarterback, so we have to decide if we are going to continue in that direction, or is Wes going to be ready to throw the football and give us a chance to win."
Monken said the biggest obstacle for Lunt is timing.
"You work so hard for five weeks and then you do nothing, it will take time to get his timing back," Monken said.