10 youthful questions for Brandon Gibson

BRANDON GIBSON can never run for president of the United States. He was born in Germany. But there doesn't seem to be much else that foils the 6-1, 202-pound receiver. He can talk Mos Def and JayZ one minute, jazz legends Miles Davis and John Coltrane the next. He can tell you, from first-hand experience, about Bennett Ball and the no-huddle offense.

He has turned himself from a modestly recruited receiver at Puyallup's Rogers High into a bona fide All-America candidate in the span of three years.

To call the Cougar senior-to-be a Renaissance Man would be an overstatement. But the fact is, this history major has some interesting background himself.

Right now, though, all eyes in the Cougar Nation are upon him for football reasons and football reasons only. WSU embarks on a new season with a new coach, new quarterback and new offense.

Gibson, though, is proven.

He led the Pac-10 in receiving yards (a school record 1,180) and yards per catch (17.6) in 2007. He was fourth in total catches, with 67, and second in receiving TDs, with nine. Two of those scoring receptions came in the waning moments of the Cougars' nailbiting Apple Cup victory at Washington. He ranks among the top 10 receivers in WSU history, both in terms of total catches and yardage.


Gibson recently took time to answer a few questions from me -- a 14-year-old Cougar fan -- as part of a periodic column aimed at asking WSU players and coaches the questions adults don't seem to think of asking.

CF.C: Who would you consider the best overall athlete on the Cougars?

Brandon Gibson : Gary Rogers is a pretty phenomenal athlete. He's big and strong and he can run a little bit, and he can play a little basketball too.

CF.C: What are your initial thoughts about the no-huddle offense?

Gibson: It's interesting … you have to get used to the speed of it and we have a lot of different routes and concepts now. I'm slowly getting used to it and I'm liking it a lot.

CF.C: I've heard you guys are running a little bit of the option?

Gibson: Coach Sturdy says to keep everyone honest you gotta run a little bit of option, so he really believes in that and he harps on it.

CF.C: When you first came to WSU you also turned out for basketball. How come you gave it up?

Gibson: It would be a lot of work to maintain two sports … I don't think I could have done that with both sports. It would have been really time consuming and I would have been, basically, dead.

CF.C: During the basketball team's run in the Big Dance did the football team get together to watch the games?

Gibson: Oh, absolutely, we got together and watched the North Carolina game. When they played Winthrop, we were right there every step of the way with them, cheering them on in the locker room.

CF.C: Tony Bennett was as assistant coach for the Cougs when you turned out for the team. What was he like to play for?

Gibson: It was fun. I got to learn a lot from him. He wasn't really the head man in charge, Dick really ran everything and broke everything down, but Tony was slowly instilling what it would be like and you can see that today.

CF.C: Who has been the hardest defensive player to match up against in your college career?

Gibson: Antoine Cason. I think they have really good DB coaches at Arizona and he's just very talented. I think he'll do very well at the next level."

CF.C: Why did you choose to come back to WSU after this year instead entering the NFL draft?

Gibson: I felt that I wasn't physically ready to go and play at the next level. That's a big step, and you've gotta be ready to make a big play and you've gotta be ready to play against men, people who are 30 years old and are just incredible at this sport. I felt that coming back for another year, and learning more, getting more physical, and mature, both mentally and physically, that maybe next year I could compete with them.

CF.C: Did you talk to any NFL scouts about where they thought you would be drafted if you came out this year?

Gibson: Yeah, and they told me I would be a mid-round guy … I didn't really get back what I wanted to hear.

CF.C: W hen you break the huddle in a game and line up against your defender, what are the first things that run through your head?

Gibson: I gotta read the triangle, which is something Coach Levenseller teaches us -- corner, safety, and OLB. And if there isn't one, then you've gotta be expecting blitz. I look at the corner's stance, which way the safeties are rolling. I mean there are a lot of things that go into being a receiver other than just running routes and catching the ball. You've gotta break down defenses as well.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Hayden Eller, 14, is a ninth-grader attending the International School of Latvia after moving there with his family from Chelan last August. His addiction to crimson and gray started six years ago when he attended his first game at Martin Stadium, a Cougar win over Idaho. His father, Jeff, is a 1985 WSU graduate. Hayden has named his dog Butch, and currently is working to turn his little brother and mom into avid Coug fans.


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