Coach: Mike Price
73-75-0, 13 years
2001 Record: 10-2
at Boise State WON 41-20
at Arizona WON 48-21
at Stanford WON 45-39
UCLA WON 20-14
at Arizona State WON 28-16
at Washington LOST 14-26
Purdue WON 33-27

2001 Final Rankings
AP-10, Coaches-11, BCS-12

Last year Jason Gesser was a Davey O'Brien Award semifinalist and one of the top signal callers in the nation.
2002 Outlook

What a 2001 season for the Cougars. Duplicating that task will be difficult no matter what talent exists. The wheel will rotate around senior quarterback Jason Gesser. He has some great talent to throw to with most of his receivers back and a very good offensive line protecting him led by Preseason All-American Derrick Roche. The entire interior from tackle to tackle returns but one spot. The biggest assignment will be finding replacements for leading rusher Dave Minnich and leading receiver Nakoa McElrath in this wide-open offensive scheme. The kids from Pullman could be a possible Top Ten candidate. But they probably won't until they improve on the nation's 53rd ranked defense that lost All-Time interception leader Lamont Thompson, and both top tacklers from 2001. A new role exists in 2002 as opposed to last season in that WAZU isn't going to sneak up on anybody. People across the league are well aware of the success and the hype it has caused heading into next fall. A 13 game regular season schedule exists including a huge cross-sectional September tumble against upstart Ohio State. The last three games will be against rivals Oregon, UCLA, Washington, and a trip to Honolulu. No room exists for an early season letdown, and the Cougars will have to beat the teams they are supposed to when the season gets started. Jason Gesser, along with that offensive line, is going to produce some fireworks next fall. Fans in Pullman have a lot to be excited about.

Projected 2002 record: 11-3

Sixteen players sat out the spring game for a variety of reasons, but the Cougars suffered no new injuries that should cause problems in the fall.
QB - 5 DL - 4.5
RB - 2.5 LB - 2
WR - 4.5 DB - 3.5
OL - 4.5 ..

Passing: Jason Gesser, 199-375-13, 3010 Yards, 26 TD's

Rushing: John Tippins, 71 att., 268 yds., 2 TD's

Receiving: Mike Bush, 46 rec., 959 yds., 10 TD's

Scoring: Drew Dunning, 18 FG, 47 PAT, 101 pts.

Punting: none

Kicking: Drew Dunning, 18-22 FG, 47-51 PAT, 101 pts.

Tackles: Al Genatone, 51 tot., 14 solo

Sacks: D.D. Acholonu, 9.5 sacks; Isaac Brown, 9.5 sacks

Interceptions: Jason David, 3 for 73 yards

Kickoff returns: Jason David, 11 ret., 18.9 avg.

Punt returns: Collin Henderson, 16 ret., 5.8 avg.


OFFENSE: Dave Minnich-RB, Nakoa McElrath-SB, Mark Baldwin-TE, Jeremy Thielbahr-TE, Joey Hollenbeck-OG
DEFENSE: Tupo Tuupo-DE, Raonall Smith-SLB, Alex Nguae-MLB, James Price-WLB, Serign Marong-WLB, Billy Newman-SS, Lamont Thompson-FS, Josh Moen-SS, Alan Cox-P

Washington State University Official Athletic Site

The list of starters back on offense includes Heisman Trophy candidate Gesser, who last year quarterbacked the fourth best offensive performance in school history. WSU averaged 432.2 yards and amassed 5,187 total yards in 2001. Wide receivers Mike Bush and Collin Henderson also return, along with four-fifth's of last year's offensive line including First Team All American Derrick Roche at guard. Joining Roche is Calvin Armstrong, who was a third team freshman All-American last season and is one of several bright young offensive lineman playing for the Cougars. And when the Cougar offense comes up short of the goal line, they will once again turn to Kicker Drew Dunning. Last year he scored 101 points, the second highest total ever by a Cougar and a record for kickers. He hit 47 of 51 extra points (two were blocked, two were long-range PATs after penalties) and 18 of 22 field goals. The Lou Groza Award semifinalist never missed inside 40 yards, hitting all 16 attempts. Without a doubt, Gesser will be the key on offense. Last year he was a Davey O'Brien Award semifinalist and one of the top signal callers in the nation. His 3,010 yards passing in 2001 and 3,111 yards in total offense both rank fourth on the all-time Cougar list. In the Pac-10, Gesser lead the league in both passing and total offense. Gesser is one of the premier quarterbacks in the country and coaches will continue to adjust the offense to his strengths, which should lead to a more productive next year. The quick-footed Gesser is on the verge of smashing WSU's career records for total offense and passing, moving ahead of such greats as Jack Thompson, Mark Rypien, Timm Rosenbach, Drew Bledsoe and Ryan Leaf. With Bush and Riley, the Cougars have two proven big-play receivers who played better last season than he expected. Mike Bush was a tremendous basketball player, but he had not played football since high school. The Cougars will also add Devard Darling, the transfer from Florida State, to their stable of receivers. The big concern will be locating a replacement for leading rusher Dave Minnich as there was no other back to go over 300 yards last season.


Returning Starters in Bold
QB Jason Gesser-Sr Matt Kegel-Jr
RB John Tippins-Sr Allen Thompson-So
SB Trandon Harvey-So Marty Martin-Fr
WR Collin Henderson-Sr Jerome Riley-Sr
WR Mike Bush-Sr Curtis Nettles-Sr
TE Tim Burnette-Fr Adam West-Fr
OT Josh Parrish-Jr Sam Lightbody-So
OG Billy Knotts-Jr Phil Locker-Sr
C Tyler Hunt-Sr Mike Shelford-Jr
OG Derrick Roche-Sr Norvell Holmes-Fr
OT Calvin Armstrong-So Riley Fitt-Chappell-Fr
K Drew Dunning-Jr ..



Washington State University Official Athletic Site

The Cougar defense is out to improve on several outstanding achievements from a year ago. In 2001, WSU's defense picked off a school record 26 interceptions and notched 40 sacks, including 30 by returning players. The WSU defense scored eight touchdowns last season, including four by members of this year's club. Over on the defensive side, the thought of going to battle next fall with three junior tackles, starters Long and Tai Tupai and veteran Jeremey Williams, has Coach Price smiling. Then again, maybe it is a full-blown grin when you add three-year starter Fred Shavies at one end position. No wonder Price thinks this year's defensive front may soon rival the 1995 Palouse Posse front four. Acholonu, incidentally, was the Pac-10 sack leader in 2001 and Brown was right behind him, ranking third in sacks. While neither was a starter last year, they were nonetheless accorded Pac-10 honorable mention honors. Al Genatone is the lone returning starter at linebacker, but the Cougar coaching staff will rely on a pair of junior college transfers and two outstanding second-year players who both saw action as true freshmen in 2001. The strength of WSU's secondary will be All-America candidate Marcus Trufant who many believe was the best cover corner in the conference last year until he missed five games with a broken hand. "Marcus Trufant is going to be one of the premier corners in the nation," predicts Price. "He is the total package. He is an athlete who can back pedal, jump and tackle. There can't be a better corner in the country." However, the concern on defense is the fact that two new starters need to found at both safety positions, including a replacement for the master himself, Mr. Lamont Thompson, as well as the fact that the linebacker spot was hit hard to graduation. WSU also must find a replacement for departed punter Alan Cox.


Returning Starters in Bold
DE D.D. Acholonu-Jr Isaac Brown-Jr
DT Tai Tupai-Jr Jeremey Williams-Jr
DT Rien Long-Jr Steve Cook-So
DE Fred Shavies-Sr Bryan Boyer-Fr
SLB Ira Davis-Jr Derrick Dillon-Sr
MLB Pat Bennett-So Kevin Sperry-So
WLB Al Genatone-Jr Wes Patterson-Aumua-Fr
CB Marcus Trufant-Sr Alex Teems-Fr
CB Jason David-Jr Karl Paymah-So
SS Virgil Williams-Sr Aaron Joseph-Fr
FS Erik Coleman-Jr Jeremy Bohannon-So
P Kyle Basler-Fr ..
Mike Bush can be seen west coasting over any defender.