WSU running backs coach Jim Mastro asked opinion on Pullman police department: ‘I think a witch hunt is going on’

PULLMAN – Wazzu radio man Matt Chazanow announced before Friday's Cougar luncheon at Banyans that none of the WSU speakers would be commenting on the off field issues surrounding the Washington State football team. Cougar running backs coach Jim Mastro, however, was asked his opinion of the Pullman police department. Here’s what Mastro had to say.

“You know, all I can say about that is you guys, you want a football team that’s relevant here. Alright, and that’s what you’ve wanted for 10 years. And we’ve got a football team that’s starting to become relevant. And then some people don’t like that.  That’s just my opinion. And I think a witch hunt is going on -- and it’s not fair. But I’ll just leave it at that,” said Mastro.

Mastro later talked about the direction that the Cougar football team is headed, specifically saying that while the team is off to a rough start, that Cougar football fans are going to like how the season ends. He spoke with confidence in the process that the team is going through, pointing to outstanding leadership amongst the team.

“On offense you have Jamal Morrow, Luke Falk, Gerard Wicks, and Gabe Marks... Peyton Pelluer on defense and Shalom (Luani) on defense… They kind of lead by example, but when they do speak – people listen,” said Mastro.

Mastro also talked about the movement on the RB depth chart, with James Williams listed at the No. 2 spot this week behind Jamal Morrow.

“Our whole point is that James Williams needs to play more – and James Williams is a freakish athlete. We need the ball in his hands more. Gerard Wicks will play. Gerard Wicks has had a heck of a season so far, but our whole point was James Williams needs to play more. In 27 years I’ve never had a running back that is as athletic as that kid is. So we’ve got to get him on the field,” said Mastro.

WSU HOOPS COACH Ernie Kent was also a speaker at Friday’s luncheon. He talked about the basketball team’s development, recruiting, and the trip to Italy over the summer, saying the latter was essential to building team chemistry and confidence. Kent said that with all the teams he’s coached in the past, the ones who have gotten that experience have returned home and put together a successful season.

Jason Gesser spoke after the two coaches, giving his insight as to where the football team is at right now, and how he handled tough times in his playing days as a Coug. Gesser talked a lot about the team’s culture and leadership, saying that having a tight locker room and having good leaders is vital to bouncing back from adversity.

He talked about one of his early WSU career experiences when the Cougs lost to, guess who – the Vandals, this weekend’s opponent, back in 2000. Gesser said that he just about lost it himself after the game, yelling out loud that he didn’t come to Washington State to lose games, he came here to win.

Mike Price pulled Gesser aside and said, “You didn’t come here to win, WE came here to win,” instilling that leadership mentality that eventually carried Gesser and the Cougs to be part of two 10-win teams.

Gesser said he has a lot of confidence in the 2016 football team, and specifically in Luke Falk as he has a close relationship with the starting QB as one of his mentors off the field. Gesser also reiterated Mastro’s comment that though the Cougs are 0-2, Cougar football fans will like how the season ends.

WSU athletic director Bill Moos was also present at the luncheon but was not one of the speakers.
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