STILLWATER — Players were bombarded with questions of Oklahoma State’s relatively unknown freshman quarterback following Friday’s first fall practice for the reigning Big 12 champions.
Wes Lunt was all the rage Friday morning as he took aim in his first official team practice since being announced as the starting quarterback following spring camp.
“I thought he looked good. I can see where he’s already improved some,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said. “I had kind of set the fifth, sixth or seventh practice as the time to really start watching him. I want to give him a chance to get back out there and let him get in pads for three or four days.
“You obviously can’t help to watch and I thought he looked good. He’s definitely bigger — he’s close to 220. He looks more physical than he did in April.”
With the Gundy’s rule of no player in his first year in the program being allowed to talk with the media, it fell on the veterans to paint the picture of Lunt’s first crack as QB1.
“Him coming in as a freshman and playing the way he is, is good. He’s matured a lot,” cornerback Justin Gilbert said. “... You can tell before a play he’s looking around trying to see what covers we’re in, so we’re doing our best to disguise it before the ball is snapped.”
As for the athletes directly involved in Lunt’s passing ability, the wide receivers say he isn’t too far off from the 28-year-old Brandon Weeden who threw to them last year.
“They both get it there. Weeden was Weeden and Wes Lunt is Wes Lunt, so can’t really compare them,” receiver Josh Stewart said. “... I don’t approach any differently because he throws just like Weeden did.”
Stewart expressed the positives of having a starter named before the summer to give the wide receiving corps the opportunity to work with just one guy — as opposed to the three-man rotation of Lunt, Clint Chelf and J.W. Walsh during the spring camp.
“It was real important because we got to bond with each other and see how each other’s roles were going to be before we came into camp,” Stewart said.
With a true freshman at the reigns of the offense, the players aren’t taking a drastic approach to defending their Big 12 crown.
“Just trying to live up to the hype. We’ve got to come out and practice every day like we haven’t won a Big 12 championship,” Gilbert said. “That was last year and we’ve got to put it behind us.
“We have something to prove this year because we’re ranked 19th in the country, so that means there are 18 other teams better than us in the country.”
The pressures of defending aren’t the only thing the Cowboys are having to overcome in the August months leading up to the season opener on Sept. 1 against Savannah State. The OSU athletes are also dealing with the heat wave hitting Stillwater — something they are all too familiar with from last year’s August heat.
“Last year definitely prepped us for this fall. It doesn’t feel as bad as last year,” Gilbert said. “It’s something we are used to, so we should be able to handle it.”
Jason Elmquist is the sports editor for The Stillwater NewsPress.
OU starts in silence
Oklahoma’s fall drills began Friday and coach Bob Stoops closed it off to the media.
Media, fan days
Both OU and OSU will conduct their annual media days today.
Also, Meet the Sooners Day starts at 10:30 a.m. at Gaylord Family-Memorial Stadium. Kids club gets a 7 a.m. admission and the general public line will then form at Gate 5 and provide shade from the direct sun. Autograph opportunities (one per child 14 and under) will end at noon. Kids may bring one item to sign.
Oklahoma State’s Fan Appreciation Day starts at 2 p.m. Doors at Gallagher-Iba Arena will open for autographs of both the football and women’s soccer teams at 1 p.m. Fans are allowed one item per person to bring and get signed, and no photographs with athletes or coaches will be allowed.