Jim Walden gives world view to CF.C readers

JIM WALDEN, THE loquacious radio color man and former head coach of the Cougars, was true to form Thursday in a lunch-hour Chat Room session with Cougfan.com subscribers. He pulled no punches in his assessment of the Cougs, clarified an exaggeration and offered praise for Louis Bland, Xavier Hicks and others.

theRabidCat: Coach, you have to pick one QB to go into battle, Turner or Casper? ;)
Jim Walden: It would be Casper. He understood the game plan. Clete was an unbelievable player in understanding what we asked him to do. Ricky was more flash and made things happen. He didn't always follow the script

CougEd: Coach, how does the rebuilding job that Wulff faces compare to what you went through in the late 70's
Jim Walden: Harder. Even though I was the 4th head coach in 4 years the talent that i found was better than what Paul has found. So it might, it was, easier for me to build it back up … You could also say there's no Jack Thompson out there. I inherited Jack Thompson and that alone was pretty good as far as rebuilding

theRabidCat: Loved your book, any chance you penning a full-on biography? Would love to read an expanded version, you've led a fascinating life.
Jim Walden: Ha Ha HA. Thank you very much but if it was in a book it would probably be pretty dull reading but no, no chance I will do that!

Go2WSU: Coach, my concern now is going to be the players giving up. What would you say to them to keep them motivated?
Jim Walden: Number 1, I don't think there's any chance that they will give up, athletes don't just give up -- They lose confidence. I would say the only way they can fight through this is to look at themselves in the mirror everyday and convince themselves to do the best they can do -- every play, every practice …. They need to satisfy themselves with their own effort.

CougEd: Are there times in wish you never got the call from Iowa State and stayed in Pullman?
Jim Walden: I can answer that two ways. I hated leaving Pullman. Monetarily it was the right thing for me to do at the time. I wish I had picked a different school.

44cougfan45: the recruiting looks to be going great so far for next year, any thoughts or comments?
Jim Walden: It just shows how hard this staff will work. They're not letting this season back them off from what they believe. I'm not surprised. And I think you'll see even better in recruiting as years go by under Paul Wulff.

CougEd: Coach, who in your mind was the best football player that you and your staff brought to Pullman?
Jim Walden: If you want to call it the highest rated player ever, who turned out to be as good as his rating was, Mark Rypien.<

PRcoug02: Coach, while we all should be patient, isn't it reasonable to expect improvement as the season goes on? As an expert, have you seen improvements that perhaps a more casual observer would not see?
Jim Walden:. But injuries have not allowed that in the manner you would normally see it. But, I've seen improvement in Louis Bland. Xavier Hicks. Myron Beck. The two corners (Romeo Pellum and Tyrone Justin). Even though the Cougs are getting mauled, those guys I just mentioned are getting better and I can see it from the booth.

Oregon_Coug: Coach: How do we, the fans, measure success, and be satisfied the rest of the way this season. For that matter, the same question for the coaches and players?
Jim Walden: I want to say in small victories -- seeing improvement in young players. Hopefully competing in longer periods of time, like in the 2nd quarter at Oregon State. And I think just overall just believing in the guys and that they're giving the best they can. And hopefully you'll see that …. I think the coaches are hamstrung, and I want to say this in their defense having been there, it is virtually impossible for a coach to show all the improvement the fans want to see when they're trying to find out who they can get on the field (because of widespread injuries) …. Changing QBs in itself is hugely detrimental to improvement.

TulsaCoug: Coach, thanks for your hard work in Pullman as coach and the perspective you are adding now with your radio work. What stands out to you about the new staff and gives you such confidence that things are headed in the right direction?
Jim Walden: Based on everything I see and when I talk to the coaches, the level of "proud to be here" has never waned. I always ask if they need to be cheered up and they always say no, they're just so happy to be there at Washington State and they're so proud to be there that it makes them drive every day to get better.

CrimsonJT: Coach Jim: Disagree with you on Casper and Turner. Casper was a stiff, Turner the real deal. But that's not my question. Who do you think is the greatest WSU QB ever? P.S., I love your radio broadcasts.
Jim Walden: It's okay for you to be mistaken :-) Thanks for the words on the radio broadcasts. That's a tough one. There's two answers. based on what he did for Washington State. I would say Ryan Leaf. It would be very close though between Ryan Leaf and Jason Gesser. It's hard to leave out Drew Bledsoe and Jack Thompson and Mark Rypien though!

CrimsonJT: You were quoted the other day as saying this is really like a JC team. You said only 17 or 18 players could play for another Pac 10 team. Is that exaggeration or just the sorry facts?
Jim Walden: It's exaggeration. The junior college thing was based on the youth, we have so FEW upperclassmen, all you see is youth when you look out there.

44cougfan45: there has been a lot of talk about the kids red shirting, have you seen any of them practice and do you think they can have great impact for next year?
Jim Walden: Yes, I've seen them practice. And yes, some of them will have an immediate impact if for no reason to provide quality depth … Energy of the depth, the more quality players you have the more you play. An 8-man rotation in the offensive line can make a huge difference for example. A word we forget sometimes is competition, and that makes a big difference in wins and losses and how they play out. When I say competition, it eliminates "off days". You come at it pretty hard if you know you might lose your job and the guy behind you is coming up strong. Depth creates competition which creates teams playing at a high level … One more thing. If they take the redshirt off of JT Levenseller, then he will hopefully play a bunch. But I would play the single wing before I put him out there and then he only plays a couple plays. I would like ideally to see him redshirt.

CougEd: Coach, it is my personal belief that you are the most important figure in Cougar modern day football history. It still amazes me back in the late 70's early 80's the students had to drive to Spokane for the first two home games, and the Apple Cup hadn't been played in Pullman for 30 some years. Was getting the Apple Cup back to Pullman your crowning achievement?
Jim Walden: Yes but not just the Apple Cup, getting all games out of Spokane. I appreciate the words but I'm not sure I'm the most important person. I would give that to Glenn Terrell for all the things he supported. But yes, I am most proud of getting ALL the game back to Pullman.

theRabidCat: Always been curious, Coach, what did you say to Lee Blakeney when you learned it was shooting at that cropduster?
Jim Walden: HA. You know, he was proven innocent of that. You don't have enough four letter words for me to tell you all what I said to him :-) Brent White was also in on it, so it was a double dressing. But again, they were cleared of all that. And they both got the same sermon. :-)

CougEd: Coach, do you think it was a mistake that our QB's came in with such little experience in light of some of the lopsided losses in 07?
Jim Walden: Yes, I would have played them more and Rogers for sure. When you're not in the game, when it absolutely couldn't be won or late in the game, I would have played Rogers. Coach Doba was a defensive minded coach and uncomfortable with quarterbacks alternating

Oregon_Coug: Coach: I have to return to work, but want to thank you for all your support over the years and I know when you cut yourself accidentally, you bleed Crimson and Gray as do the rest of us!
Jim Walden: Thank you very much. And it works both ways. It's been a love of my life. Professionally speaking, being a part of the Cougar family, has been the highlight of my professional life.

TulsaCoug: Coach - what do you see happening with Andy Mattingly - will he adapt to DE and become a star?
Jim Walden: Mattingly is a warrior. I think he and Kooyman will be really good next year, because of familiarity of position for a year. And Mattingly if he adds lower body strength that could be the critical factor that pushes him over the top.

CougEd: Coach, when you recruited Broussard and Michael Pringle, did you know they would have the success they had, and how did you envision the backfield?
Jim Walden: Yes, I envisioned them being two great players and I envisioned them playing at the same time. I'm sorry it didn't work out for Michael at Washington State.

Jim Walden: Keep the faith. It's okay to be disappointed, just don't be discouraged. It's going to get better, it may take another year, but it's going to get better. And I'm not getting discouraged because I know how hard everybody is working there and that it WILL get better.

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