As we head into fall camp, and are under a month away from football, JW Walsh is predicted to be the starter come week one, but as we saw last year JW had his ups and downs. Is Walsh the answer at the quarterback position? I'm not convinced.
I could argue Daxx Garman should be the guy lining up behind the center in 2014. Before you jump all over me, let me make myself clear, in 2014. I'm only talking about this season.
If you're only looking at wins and loses, or even the just the eye test, you can tell the Cowboy's offense works much better with a pass-first quarterback. Here's a brief look at wins and loses with a "run-first" vs. "pass-first" QB since 2009:
|Year||Pass-First or Run-First||Quarterback||Wins||Loses|
|12-13||Pass-First||Wes Lunt, Clint Chelf||6||4|
*Although Zac was injured during the Texas Tech game that year, and Brandon Weeden came in at halftime against Colorado to save our asses, he still started the majority of the games.
The last five seasons run-first QB's went 15-6, a .714 winning percentage. Over the same span, pass-first QB's went 35-9, a .795 winning percentage, and that includes the only Bedlam win, a Big 12 Championship, and the only BCS win in school history. Although the winning percentage isn't a great difference, the offense has run better, and proved more potent under a pass-first quarterback.
Even though the Pokes have produced more with a pass-first QB, Gundy has said Walsh (decidedly a run-first QB), will be the starter. Looking at the Cowboy's first opponent, I wouldn't argue with the call.
The team that gave Florida State the most trouble last season was Auburn. The Tigers had a read-option style offense with a run-first quarterback in Nick Marshall. Admittedly, it wasn't just Auburn's offense that kept them in the game though. Their use of the clock and the ability to keep the ball away from Jameis Winston was a big factor in how close that game was. By no means am I saying that OSU with J.W. Walsh is like Auburn last season, but maybe a running quarterback would be better off against the defending national champs.
Even though JW Walsh may be the best option at QB against the Seminoles, is he the best option for the season? Oklahoma State needs a QB who can get the receivers (a major strength of the offense) the ball on time, and on the money. I believe the man for that job, at least in 2014, is Daxx Garman.
#okstate Please forgive typo earlier: At QB, Daxx Garman becoming an increasingly interesting presence in the OSU camp— Bill Haisten (@billhaisten) August 2, 2014
Daxx and Mason Rudolph give you more of a prototypical QB taking the snaps. Daxx however, has sat behind Chelf and Walsh, giving him more time to develop and learn the offense. Something that is reportedly paying off. According to Bill Haisten of the Tulsa World, Garman is drawing some extra attention in practice. It also makes sense for Rudolph to redshirt this year.
There's no question that the biggest flaw with this team is youth, however next year's squad will have lots of returning talent. Give Mason a year to sit behind both Walsh and Garman to learn the tricks of the trade. If he's able to mature without using up eligibility, it sets up nicely for the future success of the team.
That being said, Gundy has teased multiple times, most recently at his latest press conference, that the quarterback position will be a three-man tag team. That decision would rule out the redshirt for Rudolph, and cement Walsh as the starter.
It's If Daxx is chosen as the starter though, I wouldn't be surprised. The coaching staff seems to be moving towards a pass-first quarterback system with a top pocket passer QB prospect, John Kolar, committing to the Oklahoma State.
If the future of the program is (and should be) a pass-first system, why delay the inevitable? After-all, the future of the program is now, in this "rebuilding" year.