STILLWATER, Okla. -- Few Big 12 players had a more notable opening weekend than J.W. Walsh. Not only does Walsh lead the league in rushing after a first week, he effectively ended Oklahoma State’s quarterback competition weeks before anyone thought possible.
Walsh, who will make his fourth career start Saturday at UTSA, spoke with ESPN.com about the Cowboys’ new option offense, the difference between preparing as the starter and a backup and how he and Clint Chelf have handled the quarterback battle, which has been ongoing for the last year-and-a-half:
Did you know when you were going to play against Mississippi State?
Walsh: I had no idea how it was going to unfold. The coaches told us a little bit of how the reps were going to go. But they really just told us however the game is going is who’s going to play. We had no idea how it was going to go. No idea. So we just prepared like we were starting and going to play the whole game.
How much option did you run in high school?
Walsh: We had quite a bit. It was almost everything. My dad [who coached Walsh in high school at Denton Guyer] had a lot of it in his offense, and we did a lot of it.
How different is it going to be for you starting this week?
Walsh: I already prepare every game like I’m the starter coming in. I should be just as prepared. It’s definitely easier to prepare when you are the starter. But you can’t get too excited. You can’t change things just because of that. You have to stay within yourself and keep doing what you’ve been doing.
Will it make a difference for you getting more snaps with the first team in practice?
Walsh: Absolutely, any time you can get more reps with the ones and get on the same page with those guys is a huge help for the offense.
What is your relationship like with Clint?
Walsh: Me and Clint are real good buddies. We help each other out on and off the field with things. No matter who’s the starter, we both want the team to be successful. I think that’s a huge part of why the team is successful is because we’re great leaders and help each other and help the team out. That’s something we’re both good at.
The last two years, you went from losing the quarterback battle to Wes Lunt, to replacing Lunt, to getting injured, then coming back at the end of last season in the special package. Now you’ve won the job. What’s been like for you the last two years?
Walsh: It’s been crazy. But it’s been a lot of fun. The team has been such a huge part of why [the quarterbacks] have been successful with all of it. Every guy we’ve had in there they’ve trusted and they’ve helped us out a lot. The team is not real big on who it’s going to be as long as we’re successful and executing the plays.