JASON GESSER circa 2002
FRANKLIN PIERCE HIGH in Tacoma is averaging 52 points a game in this young football season thanks to a one-back, option offense introduced by their new offensive coordinator – a guy named Jason Gesser. The legendary Cougar, who spends the off-season as a quarterback for the Utah Blaze of the AFL, plans to make coaching his year-round vocation once his playing days are done.
Asked Saturday after WSU’s big win over San Diego State at Qwest Field when he’d be joining the Cougars’ staff, Gesser laughed and said, "As soon as they call me!"
Over the years Gesser has said often that he’d like nothing better than to one day become head coach of the Cougars.
MIKE LEVENSELLER, a Cougar assistant for the last 17 years -– and a record-setting WSU receiver in the 1970s -- said Saturday he’s seen some tremendous quarterback play at WSU over the years so he couldn’t begin to answer where he’d rank Alex Brink’s passing-fest against San Diego State. He did, however, call Brink’s performance “a clinic.”
He also said Brink should have had six TD passes rather than five. In the second half, San Diego State picked off a long Brink bullet to Brandon Gibson at the goal-line. Levenseller said the turnover wasn’t Brink’s fault, and went on to talk about passing angles and planes and said Gibson should have adjusted his route to accommodate the only trajectory Brink could have used.
Brink was his usual diplomatic self when asked about the miscue: "It was a little bit of miscommunication. Brandon had the DB beat bad early on and I hadn't finished my drop. When I recovered it wasn't really a bad throw or a bad route as much as it was a good play by the defender."
The post-game quote of the day, though, belonged to head coach Bill Doba. “Defensively, the first quarter scared the hell out of me,” he said in reference to the massive yardage the Cougs surrendered on San Diego State’s first two possessions.
ATTENDANCE AT QWEST Field was close to 47,000 and I must say the spirit and noise inside the stadium was downright infectious -– as was the mood before kickoff in “Tailgate Heaven” near the Viaduct and in the events center next to the stadium. I look for next year’s Seattle contest to push 60,000 in attendance. That game will be against a big-time opponent, Oklahoma State, and it will be played on Labor Day Weekend, making it easy for students – and the parents of kid soccer players -- to attend.
By the way, lots of jeers for Paul "Bozo" Allen and Mayor "Clarabelle" Greg Nickels for prohibiting any kind of tailgating in the North parking lot. No barbeques, no lawn chairs -- AND NO ADVANCE NOTICE of this arbitrary, extreme overreaction of a move.
As for the game itself, I know there are some fans who believe the Cougs should play all home games in Pullman. But I have to say the annual Seattle sojourn is a great boost for the university –- and not just because of the fun on game day. The entire week leading up to kickoff is packed with WSU events around the Seattle area. I attended two of them -- the Innovators Luncheon and the Power Breakfast -- and was able to connect with people I wouldn’t have otherwise.
ANOTHER GREAT SEATTLE Week event was Jim Sterk’s reception on Friday night. President Elson Floyd stopped by and left everyone impressed with his personal energy and vision for the future of WSU. He also called Sterk the finest athletic director in the nation.
Floyd drew a laugh when he told how he always wondered why the Cougar-logo flag was flying every Saturday morning on ESPN’s GameDay broadcast. Now that he’s been in Pullman for several months, and has come to understand how passionate WSU graduates are about their university, the flag’s weekly appearance makes perfect sense to him.
If you’d like to donate to the fund that keeps the flag flying, click to Ol’ Crimson Booster Club.
JEFF MCQUARRIE, PRODUCER of the marvelous feature film on the great moments and colorful characters in Cougar football history, tells us that the third and final installment of this DVD treasure is due out in October.
Readers of CF.C may remember taking part in a poll here last year to help Jeff select the movie’s choice for greatest Cougar team of all time. The “champion” will be crowned in this third volume. McQuarrie isn’t hinting at who came out on top, though says there are five finalists: 1915, 1930, 1997, 2002 and 2003. To order the third volume in the series –- or to secure the first two volumes –- click to www.LegendsOfThePalouse.com.
THE ONGOING PROJECT to upgrade Martin Stadium won’t be complete until many millions more in donations are secured, but initial improvements will be readily apparent to fans in Pullman this weekend, especially at the north side of the stadium where there are more restrooms and concession areas. The south side also has new restrooms.
Speaking of Saturday’s game, there’s a big change this season along Stadium Way between Grimes Way and Orchard Drive/Colorado Street. In an effort to improve pedestrian safety, there will be a "restricted traffic zone" from two hours before kickoff time until two hours after the game's conclusion. Access to the restricted area will be limited to emergency vehicles, transit vehicles, stadium-support vehicles and vehicles displaying disability permits.
AND FINALLY, IN THE "nobody asked, but..." category: I find pure nonsense in this controversy surrounding Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and his team’s videotaping of New York Jets coaches relaying hand signals to players. Teams, in all sports, have been trying to steal signals for decades. The Pats simply availed themselves of technology to help them do it.
BannerFan.com, which sells oh-so-sweet Cougar banners perfect for home, tailgating or the stands, is offering CF.C readers free shipping this month. Just write "CFC" on the order form. Head to www.BannerFan.com to order.