10 Questions with Jack Thompson

COUGAR LEGEND JACK THOMPSON was in Spokane last week to take in Washington State's final spring scrimmage -- and so we picked up the phone and told him we had 10 questions for him, that we wanted to pick his brain a bit on what he saw and what it all means. And the Throwin' Samoan didn't hold back.

Cougfan.com: What were your general observations on the scrimmage?
Jack Thompson: Bigger, stronger, faster. The linemen are actually starting to look like the linemen that were there in (Mike) Price's day. That's the first thing that jumped out at me. I said, Whoa, check this out when they came out on the field. Jeff Tuel has gained 15-20 pounds of solid weight, and he's just one of many who have improved in that area.

Cougfan.com: What did you see on offense?
Jack Thompson: Loved (Rickey) Galvin. Wow. He's a head turner. And Jeff has continued to improve and impress. I told him he's a spoiled brat because he has a lot of tools coming back this year, but seriously, I can't wait to see it all unfold and develop. If Logwone Mitz can bring it all together and stay focused, energized, and keep the intensity on a play-by-play basis, and that means taking no time off, then he could be a factor. But that's a personal decision he needs to make. Because he has all the tools to be an impactful player. He has the tools to be a tough, top flight running back. But it comes down to him wanting it more than other people wanting it for him. It's on him, really. You see him run away from people 75 yards, you see him pounding it, he just needs to want it more than anyone else and on a consistent basis. What else, let's see… Oh. I love Jared Karstetter. He's a tough guy. He epitomizes Cougar Football, he's seen it all and I really hope this year we put it all together because I would like nothing better than to see him enjoy the benefits of all the work he's put in.

Cougfan.com: What did you see on defense?
Jack Thompson: I'm an offensive minded guy so I didn't have as much of my attention going that way. Alex Hoffman-Ellis, the linebacker, he caught my eye. And I hear good things about how he has stepped up his game. It's about owning it now, he's going to be a senior, and he's not just talking about it he's backing it up on the field. The linebacker position is a common place to see that leadership from and we need our linebackers to step up. And then Deone Bucannon running around back there, wow. He covers lot of ground, sure, but he brings it is what is most impressive. He's not the heaviest guy either but he is fearless, I love that about him. Love it! And you know, watching him were a lot of Cougar defensive backs, Hamza Abdullah, Husain Abdullah, Marcus Trufant, Erik Coleman. And then also there was Jason Gesser, Ryan Leaf, Matt Kegel, Kyle Basler, Colin Henderson, all these Cougar greats were there. You think of those great Cougar players who had all that passion as players and I'll tell you something – those guys on Saturday were all honestly jacked up about the directing of our football program is heading. Jacked up.

Cougfan.com: Being an old quarterback and trying to find open receivers, how did the first team corners look to you?
Jack Thompson: The corners looked strong on the first team, they did a great job of playing lock down against the Gray team. Damante Horton from what I understand, he's had a breakout spring, he looked good out there and so did Aire Justin.

Cougfan.com: How would you like to throw to that receiving group.
Jack Thompson: You mean if I didn't have my receivers? Well, as a QB one has to be licking his chops. Levy (Mike Levenseller) himself has said this could be the most stacked and packed wide receivers group he's had -- and that's saying a lot. And then you've got guys like Aaron Dunn and (Andrei) Lintz too -- Lintz made a nice acrobatic catch on Saturday -- so there are some good seeds with the tight end position, and that will help the wide receivers position. But look at all the guys you've got there, from Marquess Wilson and Jared Karstetter to Kristoff (Williams). And you've got guys behind them. And you've got young guys too, like Henry Eaddy. Wow.

Cougfan.com: What do they need to work on most, what areas most need improvement?
Jack Thompson: Depth. They need to continue building depth, it can't just be the front line players. Guys behind them need to be improving as well. That takes time.

Cougfan.com: Any observations on the coaching?
Jack Thompson: One thing that jumped out to me was the execution of our no-huddle offense. The first spring they tried to implement it, I remember it well, and boy they have come a long way, and both the first and second team. Marshall did a good job there with the 2s of getting everyone where they needed to be and getting guys in and out. The QBs have a good grasp of things now. It looks light years ahead of where they were when they started.

Cougfan.com: It's only spring, and it was just the final scrimmage, but did you see the type of team out there that can go to a bowl game this year?
Jack Thompson: Oh yeah. We have a good number of talented players now in our program. The cupboard is being restocked.

Cougfan.com: What looked different to you this spring than last?
Jack Thompson: Just as I said before -- Bigger. Stronger, Faster. The difference was obvious, standing down there on the field. From Jeff Tuel to the linemen to everyone else.

Cougfan.com: What was your take on having it in Spokane?
Jack Thompson: Loved it. We need Spokane. And vice-versa, Spokane needs us, it's a two way street. And Spokane is a Cougar town. God Bless Gonzaga, but you've got nothing on Washington State. All my years there, Spokane was Washington State. And that's how I still look at it. And (Bill) Moos knows that, he gets it. And here's an observation for you -- I saw tons of Spokane kids there. Tons. In 1977, we had a scrimmage there and I was asked to throw a football to some kids after we were done playing. Well, I threw about 350 footballs. I about threw my arm out. That's more than 30 years ago and I still have people coming up to me telling me they were there. We need to own it again. I loved seeing those kids and their parents there. And I applaud Bill and Paul Wulff for making this happen.

Cougfan Top Stories