Former WSU quarterback Jason Gesser critiques the Cougars’ play through the first quarter of the season
With a quarter of the college football season in the bag, Washington State goes into this Saturday’s final non-conference game against Nevada ranked 18th and off to a 3-0 start for the first time since 2005.
We caught up with former WSU quarterback and game-day radio analyst Jason Gesser to get his impression of the Cougars through the first three games.
Gesser played at WSU from 1999-02, and after a stint in the NFL and several years as a college football coach, he returned to Pullman in 2015 to take a staff position with the Cougar Athletic Fund. He was recently promoted to Assistant Athletic Director for Major Gifts, and is about to finish WSU’s online Executive MBA program that he started in 2016, and that he hopes will position him for a college athletic director job down the road.
Gesser still holds the school record for wins by a quarterback – 24 – but the Cougars’ current starter, Luke Falk, has 20 wins, and is rapidly gaining on him.
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This Q&A has been edited for brevity.
The Seattle Times: The Cougs are 3-0, which is big for them, but I would also argue that they’ve started slow on offense in the last two games. What’s with the slow starts?
Jason Gesser: I think we’re understating the factor of Gabe Marks and River Cracraft and even Robert Lewis not playing this year. The veteran receivers Luke is used to, and is comfortable with are not out there. I know Tavares Martin Jr. and Isaiah Johnson-Mack have played some, but as far as the trust level goes with the receivers, it takes time. It’s not just a spring ball and a fall camp and you’re ready to go. You have to be in game situations together to be able to see how they see different defenses. Because of that, things weren’t as comfortable and clean as they’ve been in the past, and that creates a bit of indecision and questioning from Luke, on whether he is making the right read or right throw, and whether he is going to go in the right area. There’s just been that bit of hesitation and he hasn’t been able to get in a rhythm.
Also, I think the guy has done so well and risen the bar so high that when he misses a couple throws everyone is like, “What’s going on?” Even coach (Mike) Leach. Because of what he does naturally, when it’s a little off-kilter, it’s…