KJR's Furness and Puckett don't hold back

TIME IS WINDING DOWN in the fourth quarter of the Apple Cup, the Cougs are on the Husky 10-yard line and they need a touchdown to win. Who do you want under center? We asked Ian Furness and Jason Puckett of KJR 950-AM that, to evaluate the job NCAA President Mark Emmert is doing, their favorite Mike Leach story and more.

CF.C: Ball on the UW 10-yard line, less than a minute left in the Apple Cup, who do you want under center: Jack Thompson, Mark Rypien, Timm Rosenbach, Ryan Leaf, Drew Bledsoe, Jason Gesser or Alex Brink?
Ian Furness: Jason Gesser. Look, I know he didn't win an Apple Cup. But he's got the biggest ones in the history of the program. Period. Jason Gesser.

Jason Puckett: I'd take Ryan Leaf.

CF.C: On a scale of 1-10, how do you rate the job Mark Emmert had done
JP: You mean negative (1-10)? I think he has missed on every single thing. I think Washington alums would agree as well… I think he's been an embarrassment to the NCAA. Looking back on how he handled Penn State and everything under his watch, the investigation at Miami, the investigation at UConn, his past… he's done nothing to establish himself as a viable president of the NCAA.

IF: You always look at people that get into a leadership position and figure they must have done something to get there… I look at Mark Emmert… and ask how he can be in that position and be that inept… His decision-making has been horrible, his hiring practices have been horrible… there are great leaders like Larry Scott, Bill Moos and others, and then there are guys who are basically used car salesmen and that seems to be what Mark Emmert is.

CF.C: Complete the sentence: Washington State basketball shocks the Pac-12 this year if…
IF: They win 20 games.

JP: They go over .500 in conference play.

CF.C: Thoughts on Ernie Kent?
JP: I think they're going to score some points, they're going to be exciting. I guess you can lose, but maybe do so in an exciting way, and I think they may do that. He's a great ambassador for the school and that's half the battle sometimes. I think he's going to be excellent in that area.

IF: I think they're going to surprise some people. I think Ernie Kent is going to get some guys in there that can play… I think Ernie's track record speaks for itself.

CF.C: What's the No. 1 reason why Ken Bone didn't succeed in Pullman?
IF: The biggest thing was talent evaluation, he wasn't able to do that at the Pac-10/12 level. The other thing was he let guys get away with too much. There were some guys he probably should have got rid of early on… But he just missed on too many recruits, he missed on talent evaluation and if you miss on 1-2 guys in basketball you're done.

JP: I would echo that. Just flat out missed in recruiting and he just didn't recruit enough talent and in turn develop that talent… but I think you have to give him some credit in development… I just go back to recruiting and being too nice at times like Ian mentioned.

CF.C: The new playoff format and selection committee: Yea or Nay?
IF: Yea, but only a slight Yea, it's better than it was. It's not good enough… but it's better than the BCS. My counter always to that though is I don't know what the perfect counter that is, if it's 16 or 32… and I think there's always going to be an anti-West Coast bias.

JP: Nay. I don't like it. It's not enough and it will never be enough until they go to a true playoff system. With four teams, it's going to be what about the fifth team, what about the sixth team. I think the bowls are way too many, it should be a reward to play in the postseason… let's determine a national champion the way you're supposed to, with a playoff, whether it's 16 or 32. The money will be there.

CF.C: What's your best Mike Leach quote/story?
JP: The whole way he handled the whole thing with Idaho and (Paul) Petrino at the end… I loved the message he sent by putting the starters back in to preserve the shutout… and I loved his response afterwards to Petrino.

IF: My favorite quote was when he got hired when someone asked why WSU and he said why the hell not… his complete indifference to that thought was fantastic… My favorite moment was the same as Puck's… all he cared about was winning his team over.

CF.C: Who is the best Cougar football player you've ever interviewed?
JP: When they were playing? And the team was terrible then, but I always enjoyed talking to Nolan Washington. He was always glass half-full, he had a great optimism about him… And then I would say a tie would be with his roommate, Jeff Tuel. I came away after interviewing Jeff Tuel blown away that this guy was only 20-21 years of age. He always said the right things but it wasn't cliché or cookie-cutter.

IF: Hamza Abdullah is right there. He's outspoken. Half the time you don't agree with what he's saying but he's got an opinion on things. He's pretty controversial and he says things that no other athlete would say. Jason Gesser is great… I'd add Geno Simone into that mix…You know who else was really good, we had him on, was Mkristo Bruce. He was a terrific interview, great storyteller.

CF.C: You've talked to a lot of people this offseason, what's the prevailing view on how the Cougs do this season?
IF: The prevailing thought I always get is the same thing I get every year, kind of an indifference and not knowing what they're talking about when it comes to Wazzu, ‘They'll score a lot of points and give up a lot of points.'

JP: The thought is they lost a lot of their secondary… and with the people I talk to the thought is they have to keep getting that improvement along the offensive line because last year that unit saw a huge improvement but they lose what, three guys from last year.

CF.C: Who is the worst/toughest Pac-12 football coach to interview?
IF: One of the worst ever is a friend of our show now, and that's Gilby (Keith Gilbertson). When he was a head coach he was a nightmare…he wanted no part of it.. Now he's one of the best guys to talk football with, no question… Jeff Tedford was horrible, mundane, gave you nothing, it was like pulling teeth to talk to Tedford. Buddy Teevens was bad. You know who was great though was Mike Stoops… he just was always on a 10.

JP: In the beginning he was great, but at the end it was miserable and that was Jim Harbaugh… And David Shaw is terrible too. Harbaugh... was one of the worst because of his one word answers, the aloof answers, very dismissive of anything. The only reason I would say Kyle Whittingham is because he always whispers… I like Kyle a bunch, it's just he always whispers.

CF.C: Who is the best coach in the Pac-12?
JP: The first name that comes to my mind, I think he gets more out of less, Mike Riley… I think we're talking about a guy who wins 10 games every year if he's in one of those marquee programs…. A close second for me is Todd Graham, the way he came in there and changed the physicality they play with.

IF: It's Mike Riley, there's not even a hesitation because he built the program, Dennis came in for a couple years and then Riley returned and took it to different heights. I think Whittingham is No. 2, I know he's under some fire right now… David Shaw is No. 3. But is it a given that we both think Mike Leach is near the top of the list and we're answering outside of WSU, right? I also think in a lot ways Sark (Steve Sarkisian) has been underrated…I think Sark gets a lot out of guys and is a pretty good motivator.

CF.C: How does the Pac-12 solve the DirecTV issue?
JP: I think they should give a little… and I think if they would do that DirecTV, maybe they would in turn say we've been a little rash on that and come back to the table.

IF: The DirecTV thing has been a debacle. I don't know that there is (a solution) there because they've painted themselves into a corner. They're truly at an impasse.

NOTABLE NOTE:
The Furness Show airs from 12pm-3pm on KJR Monday through Friday.

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