“Let's be honest about the UW offense, they're not very stellar,” said Gesser on Monday's Cougar Calls with Bill Moos.
Moos stressed several times that Washington State would absolutely not play Falk unless he had been cleared medically. While he didn’t specifically say Falk suffered a concussion, he more than once said WSU will follow all concussion and head injury related protocol on Falk. Two independent sources with knowledge of the situation who asked not to be identified told CF.C Sunday Falk suffered a concussion.
"I want to emphasize this: We're not going to take a chance with a concussion… All I can say is we’re hopeful he can play but we don’t know yet," Moos said.
Other injuries – apart from ones to the head -- have the tendency to lessen in severity for the players as an Apple Cup approaches, Moos quipped.
“We’re not going to mess with a concussion. Other injuries? Mayyyybe. Because I can tell you back in the day in my Apple Cup weeks guys cutting casts off of their arms and legs so they could play in this great rivalry,” said Moos.
If Falk can’t go and Peyton Bender lines up under center for the Cougs, both Moos and Gesser expressed supreme confidence Bender would get the job done on Friday (12:30 p.m., Fox).
How much does Moos like Bender?
“He may have the best arm ever in Cougar history,” gushed Moos.
Alex Grinch came on the show for a few minutes and WSU’s defensive coordinator said the Cougar D would be ready to roll Friday in Seattle.
“We have a responsibility to play our tails off for this university on Friday,” said Grinch.
There’s been chatter this week (again) that some Huskies consider the Ducks to be their main rival.
“I don't care who UW thinks their rival is, I know who our rival is. We're facing them on Friday -- and look out,” said Moos.
Moos told an Apple Cup story from his playing days when he was injured during the week. Jim Sweeney walked into the training table and asked the doctor what was wrong. Told he had a badly sprained ankle, Sweeney squeezed his ankle and said; “Shoot him.”
“I thought immediately in my mind they were going to take me behind the field house and shoot me like a horse, and that was my introduction to the xylocaine needle, to go out and beat the Huskies… that was my introduction to the Apple Cup,” said Moos.
Other notable notes and quotes:
-“This team will be up for the Apple Cup. We are favored. We have the better record… We’re going to be ready to go, I don’t care who the quarterback is,” said Moos. (Las Vegas has not released a betting line on WSU-UW, standard operating procedure when uncertainty surrounds the starting QB’s availability).
-Moos said he has a picture in his study of the Cougs receiving the 1972 Apple Cup Trophy from Governor Dan Evans.
-Gesser sees the biggest determining factor Friday being what the Cougar D does against the UW offense. UW lives on the explosive play and the Wazzu D has limited those, Gesser said,
-Gesser said the Cougar run game will be a big part of determining the Apple Cup as well. He noted Colorado tried to account for Gerard Wicks with a safety, and failed.
-Moos said the Cougs have 21 O-Linemen on scholarship “and they're all the 6-5, 6-6, 320-pound heavily recruited guys.
-Moos gave a shout out to Eric Mele’s troops. “Special teams (in season’s second half) have been outstanding,” said Moos.
-Grinch, noting safety Shalom Luani wasn’t at WSU last spring, said the junior defensive back will be even better in 2016 and that WSU is doing things schematically to get him around the football, with good things happening this season when the hard-hitting Luani is in position to make a play on the ball.
-Grinch attributed the strides on defense this season in large part to the fact there was “so little push back” in the spring from the players on the changes and with him as the new DC. When buy-in starts out at that level, Grinch said, it's big.
-Grinch said adversity is one of the biggest tools he has to motivate and that convincing the players to consistently give their all during the practice week has enable them to show the improvement they have on Saturdays.
-Gesser said he has a vs. ASU the week before an Apple Cup but cleared protocol and was able to play. But, Gesser said, the concussion protocols back then were different then than now, and he said he probably shouldn't have played.