“This kid doesn’t care about all these stats … leading the country in this stat, that stat, all he cares about is wins,” Cougar Hall of Famer and radio analyst Jason Gesser said Thursday about record-setting WSU quarterback Luke Falk.
“Every day he sees me he tells me, ‘I’m coming after your win record, Gess. I’m gettin’ it.’ That’s all he cares about,” Gesser told Chris Kroeger and Wayne Cook of IMG’s College Sports Now.
“He’s like, ‘I’m going to be the winningest quarterback at Washington State.’ I go, ‘I sure hope you do -- if there’s anybody out there, you’re guy. I can’t wait until you do it’,” he added.
Gesser won 24 games as the Cougars' starting quarterback. The last of those victories -- with him hobbling badly at UCLA -- clinched the 2002 Pac-10 title for WSU and a berth in the Rose Bowl agaist Oklahoma.
Falk, who has led the Cougs to eight-straight Ws this season, is clearly streaking but still has a ways to go.
He’ll be gunning for career victory No. 19 as a starter this Saturday at Colorado in one of the biggest games of the Pac-12 season. The Cougars are first in the North, at 8-2/7-0, and the Buffs are first in the South, at 8-2/6-1.
If Washington State goes undefeated through bowl season, and Falk stays around for his final year of eligibility in 2017, he could tie Gesser as soon as Week Two next season.
Kickoff on Saturday is at 12:30 Pacific. The game will be televised on Fox with Gus Johnson and former Colorado QB Joel Klatt on the call.
Gesser was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Idaho when Falk was a senior at Logan (Utah) High.
“I recruited him, offered him – he was coming to Idaho,” Gesser told Kroeger and Cook. “He was my No. 1 guy on the board … I got to know him very well.”
Gesser said when he recruited quarterbacks he would get them on the phone and ask them to explain how they would handle various scenarios on the field.
“Game-winning drive, you have to score, it’s fourth-and-eight, what play are you calling from your (high school) offense? Call it in your terms and tell me the routes … Then I’d say they’re playing cover 2, where are you going? They’re playing cover 1, where are you going. Ok, they’re bringing an all-out-blitz, where are you going? Who’s your hot read, are you checking your protection …"
And Falk “was just boom, boom, boom, boom,” Gesser recounted. “I mean, answering everything. Then I give him a red-zone situation … and he starts chuckling.”
Gesser asked why and Falk explained that he calls his own plays.
“And I’m sitting there going, ‘What are you talking about? You call your own plays?"
Makes sense now, Gesser added. He says Falk is one of the headiest, most selfless players he's ever been around.
At Idaho, Gesser was elevated to interim head coach when Robb Akey was fired but he was passed over for the head coaching job in favor of Paul Petrino and the Vandals’ offer to Falk went out the door along with Gesser. Falk fell in love with WSU and built a strong bond with Eric Mele, the walk on's recruiting point man at Wazzu, and everything fell into place.
Gesser covers other ground in the 15-minute interview with Kroeger and Cook, including his NFL forecast for Gabe Marks and why the Cougars, despite the winning streak, aren’t ranked higher. You can hear the full broadcast here:
If the Cougars win Saturday they will tie the famed 1930 WSU team of Mel Hein, Turk Edwards and Babe Hollingbery for most consecutive wins in a season, with nine. That team's run ended in a Rose Bowl loss to Alabama.
Related Story: Jason Gesser's recruiting trail war stories
WSU CAREER PASSING YARDS LEADERS:
1. Connor Halliday (2001-14), 11,304
2. Alex Brink (2004-07), 10,913
3. LUKE FALK (2014-present), 10,035
WSU CAREER PASSING TOUCHDOWNS:
1. Connor Halliday, 90
2. LUKE FALK, 84
3. Alex Brink, 76
WSU CAREER COMPLETION PERCENTAGE:
1. LUKE FALK, .701
2. Connor Halliday, .620
3. Jeff Tuel, .614