The good news, one source said, is that “all the other tests came back normal” on Falk.
“He’s doing OK, he’ll be OK,” said the source about WSU's star quarterback, a third-year sophomore.
The sources declined to comment on the chances of Falk passing concussion protocol tests and playing in Friday’s Apple Cup, and also on whether Falk was home or still in the hospital as of late Sunday afternoon. ESPN reported that Falk had been taken to Pullman Regional on Saturday night but it wasn't known if he was later released or spent the night there.
On one hand it would seem highly unlikely Falk would play Friday after two straight games where he was injured, saying of the first, “I got my bell rung a little bit,” and in the second, he appeared to be knocked out cold before being removed from the field on a stretcher.
On the other hand, every case is different. Take Wisconsin QB Joel Stave this season, who suffered a concussion against Illinois but passed protocols and started the very next game.
When will we know about Falk? If Falk practices by say, Wednesday, there’s a pretty good chance he’s playing Friday. (With the short week, WSU is expected to practice Mon-Tue-Wed rather than their customary Tue-Wed-Thu. Leach the past 4-5 weeks has cancelled the brief Sunday night practice session because at this stage of the year, the players don't need as much practice to still play at a high level on Saturdays. Even with the short week, it wouldn’t be a shocker to see Leach cancel tonight's practice and hit the ground running Monday).
Given Leach’s history, though, you can also pretty much plan on there being official word on if Falk will play/not play until, probably, the first snap in Husky Stadium on Friday (12:30 p.m., Fox). At the earliest, maybe during warm ups before kickoff.
Peyton Bender was 13 of 22 for 133 yards with one TD and one interception in relief of Falk vs. Colorado. After Falk and Bender, the only other scholie QB on the roster is true freshman Tyler Hilinski. While WSU would certainly like to keep his redshirt intact, it’s not out of the realm Hilinski could come in if disaster strikes. That being said …
Three walk on QBs are on the roster: true freshmen Christian Jorgenson and Matt Jimison, and third-year sophomore Connor Ennis. If any were called on to play in the final two games, CF.C’s Matthew Zimmer didn’t hesitate in predicting it would be Jorgenson based on his viewing of practice all year.
Jorgenson isn’t your typical true freshman, having gone through spring ball. And this is key: when Bender was warming up on the field as Falk was about to be carted off, Jorgenson, behind the WSU bench, was warming up at a furious pace. Someone had clearly told him to get loose. Rapidly.
Generally speaking, players suffering a concussion pass a series of protocol tests over time, clearing one and moving on to the next. According to CBS Sports and other media, there are no uniform concussion protocols in college football, with each school submitting their own protocols by sport for annual approval.
An irritated Mike Leach told an ESPN reporter on the field immediately after the game Saturday that Falk was, “Healthy as can be. Rested him the second half.” After a follow up, Leach said, “I don’t talk about injuries, under any circumstances.” Leach in his postgame presser answered three Falk inquiries with “Next question,” before threatening to walk out if any more questions were posed on Falk.
So why does Leach snap at reporters when asked about injuries?
Leach told CF.C last November that he hates when injuries are reported, and when media ask about them, for two reasons: the first is that it gives opponents a list of vulnerabilities they might not otherwise know about. That doesn’t apply here, everyone knows how Falk was injured. But that’s also not Leach’s primary objection.
“The bigger thing to me has always been the reverse message of it,” Leach told CF.C. “‘Okay these guys are going to be awful because so-and-so is down,’ … I don’t want to minimize the backup who is going to play for that guy. The mentality needs to be that it doesn’t matter who plays -- we’re going to go out there and play well.”
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