WSU's Gesser has strong message on Mike Leach

MANHATTAN - The Cougar faithful invaded New York City on Thursday night, gathering at a bar in Manhattan in advance of Saturday's 12:30 p.m. (Pacific/ESPNU) contest at Rutgers. Washington State radio analyst Jason Gesser was on hand to meet with fans and alumni, and also with CF.C. He had a simple yet strong message to convey when it comes to Mike Leach.

This team will not let the Portland State loss ruin the season, Gesser said.

All week, many Cougar fans have been boiling with anger. The loss to PSU was beyond embarrassing for head man Leach, now 12-26 at Washington State. But Gesser (pictured above last night) was adamant that the 2015 Cougar team has the necessary talent to post a productive season. That was his message to the 50-plus Cougar fans who braved an intense downpour to venture into Manhattan for the Cougar gathering.

CF.C was there and asked Gesser about Leach, the belly flop against Portland State, his thoughts on Rutgers and his prediction for Saturday.

CF.C: Why do you think Mike Leach is struggling to gain traction at WSU?
Gesser: You know, the biggest thing I see that a lot of people don’t see is the work these guys put in. What Leach had to get to, from the previous staff. He won’t say anything about that. I like his mentality that no matter what, they have to do better as coaches and players and have good results and win.

One thing people forget is that in his second year, they went to a bowl game for the first time in 10 years. Everyone was mad with the (bowl) result, including myself. With that said, he’s bringing in the right guys and having the guys in the Pac-12 to compete. You see the sides of that. I believe in where he’s going, where the staff is going and where the team is going. Obviously Portland State isn’t how they wanted to perform, but at the end of the day, they’re pretty pissed off about it and they’ll be ready for Rutgers.

CF.C: What's the single-best piece of advice you'd offer to the players to help them put Portland State behind them?
Gesser: Biggest thing I can say is let that sting, and let that hurt. But let it be a motivator for you moving forward. These guys need to understand that they never want to have that feeling again and what it takes to move forward. It will take leadership and guys to stay within themselves. They need to worry about themselves and not focus on what fans are talking about, alumni are talking about or (opposing) coaches are talking about. It’s hard nowadays with social media and podcasts, but if they worry about themselves and know they can play better than they did at Portland State, and show it, I think they’re going to be just fine. They have the talent and the leadership to step up.

CF.C: What are the one or two match ups Saturday you're most looking forward to watching?
Gesser: I want to see our run-stop defense. Obviously they gave up too many yards to Portland State and Rutgers is going to come out in a pro set and run the football. I want to see how those guys respond to that. Last year Rutgers ran for more than 200 yards and last week Portland State did too. We need to stop those guys on the run and make them try and beat us through the air. And if they try and beat us through the air, guess what, our quarterback is better than yours and we’ll win through the air. I want to see our defense come out with a purpose.

CF.C: What's your prediction for Saturday?
Gesser: I think Washington State pulls it out in a close one. Maybe a three-point or seven-point game. At the end of the day, I’ll go with 37 Washington State, 34 Rutgers.

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