Despite our lack of information about who might be the starter, I'm making this pronouncement...
If somebody other than J.W. Walsh trots out there with the "ones" in AT&T Stadium, I'll be absolutely shocked.
National stage. Defending National Champion. First game of the season.
I guarantee the most experienced QB who can command the offense and LEAD the team will be on the field. Jimmie Tramel of the Tulsa World said exactly the same thing yesterday. Except for a couple of late changes, I've had this written for a couple of days. I was going to revise it, then I realized I shouldn't because it gives me a chance to link to a blog post that mentions Tonya Harding and Wolfman Jack in reference to OSU's QB competition. Can't beat that.
Anyway, despite all of Walsh's positives, he might have the same short leash Clint Chelf had in Reliant Stadium in 2013.
At that point it's going to be a true freshman or a player whose greatness only exists in our collective imagination.
|12||Garman, Daxx||QB||6-2||205||JR||Southlake, TX/Carroll/Arizona|
|4||Walsh, J.W.||QB||6-2||205||JR||Denton, TX/Guyer|
|19||Holcomb, Tyler||QB||6-3||216||RS FR||Edmond, OK/Memorial|
|11||Hubenak, Jake||QB||6-2||190||RS FR||Georgetown, TX/Georgetown|
|16||Lagow, Richard||QB||6-6||220||RS FR||Plano, TX/Plano/Connecticut|
|10||Rudolph, Mason||QB||6-4||217||FR||Rock Hill, SC/Northwestern|
You can ignore Holcomb, Hubenak, and Lagow. This competition has been openly advertised as a race between the first two guys and the last one.
Walsh is the ONLY QB who has played a down in college, although he does have significant experience and has had success. The problem is we all cringe when he winds up to sling it.
Garman has less experience than Weeden had, but his throws are the legend of shaky videos and GIF's. We supposedly have some eyewitness reports of his ability to "spin" it, but I'm not buying anything until I actually see him in a live game. Until then, his ability to throw the ball is no different than Jeffrey Carroll's ability to lead the basketball scout team to victories over the starters in hoops scrimmages.
Rudolph is a true freshman that enrolled early in order to compete for the starting spot. The last guy who did that is now supposed to be the savior at llinois.
The last time OSU went into a season with this kind of situation at this position was 2010. Holgorsen was the new OC on the block, and Weeden had that incredible comeback against Colorado on his resume that made us believe he could be the man.
Yurcich is not Holgo, and Walsh is definitely not Weeden.
The one glimmer of hope that actually resides in facts, as opposed to wishful thinking, is this:
|SEASON||CMP||ATT||YDS||CMP%||YPA||LNG||TD||INT||SACK||RAT||RAW QBR||ADJ QBR|
The 2012 version of J.W. Walsh.
It's still not clear what happened to Walsh in 2013 that caused the sophomore slump. Was it the new OC or the struggles with the offensive line? Was he trying too hard? Who knows.
What we do know is that if J.W. can rediscover his freshman form, Garman will be a backup and Rudolph will redshirt if the injury bug stays away. His leadership skills are just too valuable, so if Walsh can back that up with some improvement over 2013 then it will be hard for Gundy to turn the reins over to either of the other two.
Remember our HC's main concern with the QB...manage the game and take care of the ball. I just don't see Daxx or Mason doing that better than Walsh at this point. The experience card is just too significant in this moment.
Of course a couple of early interceptions and some bad reads vs Florida State could throw all that out the window.
Now, just to put a little fuel on the fire, let's insert some commentary from the best QB in school history:
Gundy echoed these comments. I will be shocked if we hear anything more specific about these three the rest of the spring from the coaches, but I could be surprised. Gundy has actually been pretty candid about Walsh's obvious advantage in leadership and experience during spring drills.
The media, however, will most definitely be talking about it.
All it took was one open practice and we got this from ESPN Big 12 blogger Brandon Chatmon:
"J.W. Walsh looked like the leader of the offense and has the command of a veteran behind center, making some big plays of his own in the scrimmage. Yet Garman, a walk-on who transferred from Arizona, was the best thrower of the bunch while sharing some snaps with the starters in the scrimmage."
Chatmon also added this quote from OC Mike Yurcich:
"He can really rotate the ball, really spin it, when it comes out of his hands, it’s different," offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich said of Garman. "It’s not just one throw where he’s able to reach out and do it, he does it when he wants to. Even my wife would look and say, ‘Wow, that dude is really good throwing the football.'"
It will be very interesting to see how Gundy handles the quarterbacks during the "Orange Blitz." That will be the 2nd practice that the local media will have had access to, so I can't imagine them not offering plenty of opinion on how these guys looked.
The other part of this? Daxx's development, if it continues, would virtually guarantee Rudolph's redshirt.
Regardless, we won't know the final verdict until just prior to the opener against the Seminoles. The rumor mill will likely give us a pretty good idea, but that's all it will be...rumor.
In the end, it won't matter. The Cowboys' 2014 record will have little to do with this mystery.