For backup QB Gilbertson, Air Raid a scream

PULLMAN -- It's easy to forget about a team's third-string quarterback. Relegated to just a few practice snaps, the king of the clipboard usually stays hidden on the sidelines, waiting for an opportunity. This spring, David Gilbertson got that chance.

With Connor Halliday limited to passing drills this spring as he continued to heal up from a lacerated liver last season, David Gilbertson impressed the new WSU coaching staff by quickly picking up the Air Raid Offense.

Serving as Jeff Tuel's understudy in the Crimson and Gray Game, Gilbertson (against mostly backups) crafted a 12-of-16, (75 percent) 162-yard performance. In the four spring scrimmages, Gilbertson completed 40-of-60 passes, (67 percent) for 470 yards, 3 TDs and 2 INTs.

As Finals Week wound down on the Palouse, the son of former Husky head coach Keith Gilbertson answered a few brain-busters from CF.C before heading back to his home on the west side.

CF.C: What was your first impression of Coach Leach and what has it been like working with him as your quarterbacks' coach?

Gilbertson: He's really smart. He knows a lot about the game. The great thing is that he's an expert on this offense cause it is his. He does a great job of applying things, which makes everyone more efficient on the field.

CF.C: Would you say you have a better grasp of the Air Raid than you ever did of the last system? What's accounted for your rise up the depth chart?

Gilbertson: Yeah, definitely. Anytime you get more reps you get more comfortable playing. You're going to play better the more chances you get. This offense allows me work well with the skills I've got. My game translates well to this offense. It's kind of a simplified version of what we've done before but we can get to it in a lot of ways that work really well for us.

CF.C: What are some of the benefits of having a former head coach as your dad and how much do you bounce ideas back and forth?

Gilbertson: He is always curious. I always call him after practice and he asks, ‘How did everything go?' He's real interested because he loves hearing about that that type of stuff. It's always been a benefit because we can talk through stuff that happened on the field. It's a great resource to have as a football player to have somebody like that at home who has that knowledge.

CF.C: What was his initial reaction when you told him you were going to be a Coug?

Gilbertson: He was fired up about it. My sister just graduated from here and my Mom went here. His dad went here. He just wanted me to go to a place where I was excited about playing and thought I could do well while having a great college experience and I've had that and more here. He was supportive. A lot of people at the time asked if it was weird but it's been awesome.

Note: Keith Gilbertson was recently in attendance at both the Crimson and Gray game in Spokane and A Night with Cougar Football in Seattle.

CF.C: Did you have offers from smaller schools? Talk about your decision to walk-on rather than take a scholarship somewhere else.

Gilbertson: Yeah, I had one from Eastern. Coming here I felt that I could make a push for getting a scholarship. They put me on (scholarship) last spring. I had a great time when I visited and liked a lot of guys on this team. I saw myself enjoying it here for four or five years more than somewhere else where I thought, ‘Am I going to really like it here?' It's turned out great so far.

CF.C: What are your thoughts when you see former walk-ons have success under Leach?

Gilbertson: The thing about his philosophy and style is that he's open to anything. What he always tells us is to make easy throws. In his words, he wants us to make throws that he can make.

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