- David Ubben, College Football
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From the moment Mike Gundy named 18-year-old Wes Lunt his starting quarterback after spring practice, the college football world waited to see how Lunt would handle replacing Brandon Weeden, first-round NFL draft pick and Big 12 champion.
He became the school's first quarterback to go without an incompletion in his first start. What's that mean?
Well, not much, says coach Mike Gundy.
"On paper, he played well. Everyone knows he was 11-of-11," Gundy said. "He handled our tempo and our offense. He wasn’t presented with a lot of different scenarios. His decision-making was good, but he wasn’t in a blitz situation."
He also wasn't in a situation where he played meaningful competition. What he sees in practice is on another level from what he saw Saturday against FCS doormat Savannah State, a team that won one game each of the past two seasons -- against the same team.
This week? It won't be anything like his experience on Saturday night.
"He wasn’t in a tight situation, a third-and-long, fourth-and-short," Gundy said. "I would say he handled it fine, but the challenge will be different."
The Cowboys' opponent, Arizona, is playing its second game under new coach Rich Rodriguez, but will present a whole new level of challenge for the fresh-faced passer.
Additionally, the road atmosphere will make Lunt's first test even more difficult.
"He just needs to run our offense, distribute the ball and get it in the hands of the players that can help us win, but not try to do too much," Gundy said.
He'll have plenty of talent around him, from an experienced offensive line and a promising set of receivers. He'll also have a 1,200-yard rusher in Joseph Randle supporting him, alongside a 600-yard power rusher, Jeremy Smith.
Gundy and his staff have consistently emphasized what Lunt can see in practice every day, even if his game experience is lacking: He's got plenty of help.
"That’s the conversation that (offensive coordinator) Todd Monken had with him, and I’m sure he’s heard me say it to the media for the last six months now," Gundy said. "He just needs to play sound football and doesn’t need to try to do too much."