Wes Lunt proved more things in less than six quarters of football than most players do in their careers. Lunt showed he is the real deal—he has the live arm, the accuracy and most importantly, the poise. He has everything needed to be the future at Oklahoma State.
After Lunt dislocated his kneecap early in the game against Louisiana Lafayette, J.W. Walsh was handed the reins of the offense and rose to the occasion, playing admirably through the ULL game and two weeks later against Texas.
In fact, the Cowboys offense did not miss a beat statistically as Walsh posted the following numbers:
vs. Louisiana Lafayette: 21/30, 347 yards, 4 TD, 0 INT; 6 carries, 73 yards, 1 TD
vs. Texas: 18/27, 301 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT; 8 carries, 57 yards
Still, Oklahoma State lost to Texas in a 41-36 heart breaker. The team now sits at 2-2, at risk of bringing mediocrity back to Stillwater.
With that in mind, there is no doubt that Wes Lunt needs to start Saturday at Kansas if he is physically capable.
The initial diagnosis indicated that Lunt would likely miss two or three weeks due to his injury. With the game against Texas and bye weeks before and after, it has been three weeks.
The dislocated kneecap appeared gruesome and was surely painful, but Lunt has been back at practice and should be close to fully healed. He may not be 100 percent, but if he is anywhere close he needs to get back on the field as soon as possible.
Lunt’s college debut consisted of a 11 for 11 passing performance. Sure, it was Savannah State, sure, the final score ended up being 84-0, but Lunt performed as well as humanly possible.
The next week, OSU suffered an upset loss to Arizona, but not at all because of Lunt. The freshman went 37 for 60 for 436 yards and four touchdowns. Yes, he threw three interceptions, but it says a lot that offensive coordinator Todd Monken put the blame on himself for Lunt’s interceptions.
Lunt battled through suspect blocking and terrible play by his receivers in the form of drops and miscommunications, yet still had a fantastic game. Lunt showed poise in playing from behind. He fought until the final whistle. He was the best player on the field.
This is the guy Mike Gundy picked over Walsh and Clint Chelf in the offseason. For Gundy to pick a true freshman, he must have showed something special.
This is the guy the media labeled as "the future," and "a Brandon Weeden prototype." With his 6 foot 4 stature, cannon arm and calm demeanor, he indeed showed something special.
With Lunt at the helm, the offense is far more wide open. Against Texas, the offensive play calling looked severely limited. There was an excess of short passes and more of a dependency on the run. With Lunt, Monken can run a true spread air attack that is capable of devastating Big 12 defenses.
The offensive scheme against Texas was not the same as the one against Arizona. The one displayed against Arizona, however, is much more reminiscent of that which Brandon Weeden executed to perfection. With the personnel at hand, this team is at its best offensively under that same system.
Lunt is not only the future, but the present. He needs all the experience he can get before heading into showdowns with Kansas State, West Virginia and Oklahoma. He needs to be at his best, and that means he needs more time on the field.
Gundy and many others have maintained the position that Lunt should not be rushed back. Under that notion, Lunt has the rest of his career to play, and Walsh is more than capable of handling the job.
However, it is best for the immediate future for Lunt to play. His injury is not one that should be reoccurring, so there really is nothing to lose. Walsh is great, but Lunt is better and with him the offense is far more potent.
At this point, Oklahoma State is on the verge of having a lost season. The best way to ensure that doesn’t happen is to get the best players on the field and make sure they are ready for the big time games coming up.
If Lunt is healthy enough to play, why not play him?
If the future is Wes Lunt, then the future needs to be now.