THE LATEST FROM Pullman is that Jason Gesser thinks he'll be good to go against Cal. Mike Price said he figures to play "some," and the team trainer thinks it's a long shot. Regardless, Gesser probably won't try to practice till Wednesday and he'll be donning a flak jacket to protect those tender ribs.
JUST HOW AMAZING was Marcus Trufant's work returning punts against Montana State? So amazing that Cougar assistant head coach Kasey Dunn informed reporters Saturday that the Cougars were trying for blocks -- not return set ups -- on the two first-half punts Trufant returned for 52 and 47 yards. "They were all him," Dunn marveled. Both plays set up Cougar touchdowns.
THE INJURY REPORT from Pullman just keeps getting sorrier and sorrier and we're not even talking about Jason Gesser. The Cougars entered the MSU game without the services of tight ends Troy Bienemann or Jesse Taylor. That gave the starting nod to redshirt freshman Adam West who promptly went down with an ankle injury. That left Mark Ahlberg and Eddie Robinson to fill the void. Of note is that WSU has yet to complete a pass to a tight end this season.
And speaking of Bienemann, who normally handles the Cougars' long-snapping chores, kudos are in line for redshirt freshman Riley Fitt-Chappell who filled in for him on the punt unit against MSU. He did a sweet job.
THREE COUGARS made their first-ever starts in crimson on Saturday: middle linebacker Mawuli Davis, guard Norvell Holmes and the tight end West. Holmes appears to have graded out nicely, as Price gave solid marks to his makeshift offensive line which was without starters Josh Parrish and Phil Locker. Davis may have some work to do -- the Cougar linebacking corps was almost nowhere to be seen on the defensive stats list at games end. The secondary, however, was all over the place.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING:
"Considering this was a nonleague game against a team from a lower caste, Washington State experienced a touch of anxiety Saturday -- if not from Montana State, then from Pullman Memorial Hospital. But the Cougars believe their worries are quelled. The Cougs shook off some early-game doldrums to vanquish the Bobcats 45-28, a rather predictable outcome that was upstaged an hour later by the encouraging medical report on quarterback Jason Gesser." <br>Dale Grummert, Lewiston Morning Tribune
"Washington State fans held their breaths Sunday, hoping their standout quarterback is a quick healer."
John Wiley, Associated Press
"Gesser has suffered injuries each season of his Cougar career. As a freshman, he missed six games with a broken thumb. As a sophomore, he missed two games with a broken leg. As a junior, he suffered a concussion against Arizona State and played in the Sun Bowl with a broken hand suffered against Washington."
Don Ruiz, Tacoma News Tribune
"Washington State crushed Montana State 45-28, but the Cougars' offense — and hopes for the season — took a direct hit in the process."
Craig Smith, Seattle Times
"They are ranked No. 16 and we are about 140 notches below them. It was great to have a 7-0 lead. I wanted to run out and take a team picture in front of the scoreboard."
Bobcat head coach Mike Kramer
"Without him, no telling what will happen. We need Jason right now."
WSU back Jermaine Green in the Spokesman-Review
"For Montana State, it was four minutes of pain. In a four-minute span midway through the second quarter, the No. 16-ranked Washington State football team ripped off two long punt returns, recovered a fumble for a touchdown and scored 21 points. Just like that, the competitive phase of Saturday's game between MSU and I-A WSU was over."
Pete Faggen, Bozeman Chronicle
"The Cougars will be doing some extra wind sprints this week for committing too many penalties. The 12 penalties were the most since 13 at Boise State in Game 2 last year, and the 115 yards were the most since last year's opener against Idaho (128)."
Craig Smith, Seattle Times
"I wanted to play all (the) backups. That's real important to me, I guess because I was a backup and never got to play. If they (MSU) score on us that doesn't matter, that's OK. Stats are unimportant. It's the reserves getting a chance to play that means everything to them in the world. They have guys up in the stands cheering for them, their classmates and their friends."