August 27, 2013 11:51:14 PM
Matthew Stevens - [email protected]
STARKVILLE -- Just because the Mississippi State University coaching staff is preparing to see two quarterbacks Saturday doesn't mean the game plan will be drastically different.
Oklahoma State University coach Mike Gundy has stressed for the last few months he will not name a starter but insists on pllaying both senior Clint Chelf and J.W. Walsh behind center in the Texas Kickoff Classic matchup against the Bulldogs.
"We're going to play both guys (and) that hasn't changed since the spring," Gundy said. "Both quarterbacks have improved. I don't really know any other way to say it, than what I've been saying the last five months. Both guys have been doing a good job, we're glad we have them and they'll both get a chance to play."
Interestingly Gundy has hinted this is not typically a problem he normally enjoys having before the start of a season. The nine-year Cowboys coach usually goes by the theory that if a team has two quarterbacks, they don't have a quality player behind center.
"I don't like two-quarterback systems if we have one that's better than the other or one that's more experienced," Gundy said. "But now we have two quarterbacks that have relatively the same amount of experience. So we're obligated to give both of them the opportunity to play in the game."
Walsh, a sophomore from Denton, Texas, is more of the running threat especially near the goal line after seven rushing touchdowns in the 2012 season. The 2012 Big 12 Conference freshman of the year selection by the league's coaches also had the fourth best quarterback rating ever by a freshman (170.11) trailing only Michael Vick, Sam Bradford and former Arizona State University Rudy Carpenter. Walsh had three games over 300 yards passing including a 415-yard performance against Iowa State University.
Chelf, who was a two-year backup to Brandon Weeden and the most valuable player of the Heart of Dallas Bowl victory over Purdue University, started the final five games of the previous season throwing 15 touchdown passes and averaged 198.5 yards through the air.
Chelf led the Cowboys to a 59-21 victory over then-No. 23 Texas Tech University and a 55-34 victory over University of West Virginia.
"We just try to find whatever keys we can but the difficulty is when that thing is rolling 1,000 miles per hour, you have to still pick up those little things," MSU defensive coordinator Geoff Collins said.
Collins talked Tuesday about the possibility of MSU using a spy in the middle of the field to monitor Walsh trying to get to the edge or create a new pocket after MSU comes with a blitz package. With first-year coordinator Mike Yurcich arriving from Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, Pa., Collins may need to adjust on the fly during the game to whatever new wrinkle the Cowboys coaching staff has as they juggle the two signal callers.
"They have one quarterback that makes great decisions and another one that can run really well with a good accurate arm," Collins said.
"(Defensive line coach) David Turner does a great job coaching his group up but the key will be pressure in that pocket. We have to get that quarterback moving in a way he doesn't want to."
n Freshman Richie Brown slated to replace questionable LB Ferlando Bohanna: MSU defensive coordinator Geoff Collins confirmed Tuesday he'll slide redshirt freshman Richie Brown into the backup middle linebacker spot if junior Ferlando Bohanna can't play due to concussion issues.
MSU coach Dan Mullen confirmed Monday junior linebacker Ferlando Bohanna was "questionable" to play Saturday against No. 13 Oklahoma State in the Texas Kickoff Classic at Reliant Stadium in Houston.
Brown, a redshirt freshman, was a four-star recruit two years ago from Long Beach and was selected as a 2011 All-American by Parade Magazine in a senior season where he accumulated more than 200 tackles.
n DawgTalk returns Thursday: Back for the second-consecutive year at Buffalo Wild Wings is "DawgTalk With Dan Mullen."
The hour-long call-in radio show, hosted by veteran broadcaster Jim Ellis and carried live on most radio affiliates, can be heard each Thursday during the season from 7-8 p.m., beginning this week.
Fans are encouraged to attend the show in person at the Starkville Buffalo Wild Wings, where Hobie Hobart will roam the crowd fielding questions and offering trivia.
Fans who can't make the show can call 1-866-998-4893 to ask their questions for Mullen.