WSU Notes: Mason a Lombardi type of guy

SPORTING NEWS and USA Today have weighed in with their picks on Saturday's New Mexico Bowl. Also, with a few exceptions, media access to WSU players ended back on Sunday. But before the curtain came down, Cougar junior running back Marcus Mason offered some interesting comments on a variety of subjects. And one of his answers would have made Vince Lombardi proud.

Lombardi, the legendary Green Bay Packers coach, famously once said; "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing." Howie Stalwick spoke with Mason a few days back and the leading rusher for Washington State is cut from that same cloth.

Mason was also respectful, but hardly wowed by the Mountain West's Defensive Player of the Year.

Q: As a running back, what was your initial reaction when you learned Leach was bringing his pass-happy offense to WSU after your freshman season?
A: I didn't really care. I just wanted to win, so nothing matters to me stats-wise. Winning is the only thing that matters to me.

Q: What do you think of Rams outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett, who's tied for third in the nation with 12 quarterback sacks?
A: He's pretty good. We're not planning on him having a big day. We're planning to stop everything he does, basically. We're not looking at him like, "Oh, he's going to be a king."

Q: You lead the Cougars in rushing, but you have just 83 carries and 424 rushing yards. Would you like to carry the ball more?
A: (Smiling) Sure! Of course!

Q: After growing up in Southern California, what's it like living in Pullman and attending WSU?
A: Everyone's way friendlier than I'm used to. It's like a close-knit family. It's like the only place you can come away from everything and not have anything but still have everything.

Q: Well, everything but bowl experience, right?
A: We don't want to go down there just to have fun. We want to have fun while winning the game.

Q: What's your general impression of Colorado State?
A: They're good. They're disciplined. They play hard.

USA TODAY IS bullish on the Cougars.

ALL SIX STAFF MEMBERS making the newspaper's bowl picks - Paul Myerberg, George Schroeder, Erick Smith, Eddie Timanus, Dan Uthman, Dan Wolken -- project Washington State to beat Colorado State on Saturday in Albuquerque.

So does Sporting News.

"The price is a little inflated right now, but not high enough to make us look at Colorado State. We're siding with the Cougars and look for a high-scoring game to go well OVER the total (66)," says SN.