Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Night 74° Clear


Simmons ‘at a loss’ in Wilson situation


FROM PULLMAN -- With basketball duties out of the way, we'll pass along today's comments from outside receivers coach Dennis Simmons, who gave an emotional description of his relationship with his players while answering questions about Marquess Wilson. Read on.


First, a few brief practice notes ... Isiah Myers returned to practice for a little while before leaving, presumably to work with the strength coaches, whom he returned with a little while later. Myers caught passes with the rest of the receivers after practice. ... Teondray Caldwell also returned and appears as if he's ready to go this weekend, as he participated fully in practice. ... Offensive tackle Gunnar Eklund apparently suffered a hand injury agianst Utah, and rode the bike all day with his right hand in a soft brace/cast type deal. With him sidelined, John Fullington slid over to left tackle with Jake Rodgers playing at left guard and Matt Goetz at right guard. ... The practice looked fairly sharp, and coach Mike Leach said afterward he thought it went well. ... Travis Long was seen punting afterward, and he looked pretty good. Leach said he wasn't sure what special teams coach Eric Russell had  up his sleeve, telling reporters he was "genuinely curious" to find out why he wanted to Long to punt the ball a few times. He's left-footed. And he can kick. Some of his punts -- from about the 50-yard line or so, it appeared -- sent WSU's returners through the back of the end zone. Not sure if there's anything to that or not. ... Feddie Davey, who injured his left knee on Reggie Dunn's 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown Saturday, was on crutches and spent some time on the exercise bike.

Simmons said he hasn't spoken with Wilson since Sunday, but that he'd be willing to listen if Wilson wants to talk. We'll pass along the rest of his comments in transcript form.

(Have you heard anything about Marquess quitting?) "I’ve heard the same thing that you guys have. I have not spoken with him. I haven’t called. He hasn’t called. You look like you’re old enough to have kids so I guess sometimes, I think I speak for all of the coaches when I make this statement but as much time as we put in here and we spend with these guys it becomes more than just a player/coach relationship. They are like my kids. And having kids that are older, sometimes they’re going to make decisions and make choices you may or may not agree with. And I think that’s what’s happened in this situation. I think it’s very sad, I think it’s very unfortunate. Where we go from here, I don’t know. I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that I do. Did I hope to be sitting here talking to you guys about a situation like this? No. At the end of the day, like I said, I love these kids like they truly are my kids and I want nothing but the best for them both on and off the field. If I was to talk to him, that would be what I would tell him. Part of me feels like I should probably be more of the adult in the situation and reach out to him. But also a part of me feels like in life you learn things and sometimes with the way my mom raised me, sometimes she had to sit back and let me learn on my own and kind of sit back and let me figure some things out. I don’t know what the right answer or what the right way to handle the situation is. I’m kind of at a loss."

(What's made this situation so stand-offish?) "Honestly I don’t know. I can only speak for myself. I know everything I’ve tried to do, with not just Marquess but all of our players, has been genuine and been to try to help them become the best player and the best person they can be. If I’m wrong for that then I can sleep at night with that because I feel like that’s why coach Leach and Mr. Moos brought me here, was to not only help develop guys in the realm of athletics but to help develop guys in the big scope of things of life. And I’m not going to treat one person different than I treat any other. If it’s good enough for the sixth guy on the depth chart then it’s got to be good enough for the first guy on the depth chart. That’s how I wanted to be coached when I played. That was one of the things I was adamant about that I was going to handle situations when I got into this business. And coaching college football, like coaching anything, you spend a lot of time correcting guys on what their weaknesses are and I try to make a point each day to tell guys, 'you did this good, too.' Because I can remember what it was like to be on their end of it. So how did we get to this point? Honestly I don’t know. I realy don’t. Am I happy that we’ve gotten to this point? No I’m not. Because like I said, I’ve got love for that kid just like I’ve got love for all of these kids here because I understand the sacrifice it takes  to play college football. I’ve been there. I understand this is the 15th week of the season. That’s a lot of hours, time that both they’ve invested into it and that I’ve invested into it. Working with them. That’s why I get knuckleheads like that (jokingly, as Gabe Marks walks across the field) hanging in my office and running around here."

(What would you say if he came to you asking to play again?) "Honestly, it’s not a me against him thing. I would think the first thing, go to your brothers. Go to your teammates. I’m human just like he is. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve made decisions at 20 that I was like, you know what, that wasn’t a very smart choice. So I’m not here to hold a grudge against anybody. I’m not here to judge anybody. I still make dumb choices at 39. So I mean, if he came and wanted to talk to me, my door is always open. He knows that. And I think I actually speak for Leach on this one, if he came and wanted to talk to Mike, his door’s always open. At the end of the day we got in this business because we wanted to help young men grow. I’ve accomplished all my dreams. I’m living my dream right now. I get paid to coach college football. I’m a glorified fan. And I get a salary for it every month, good bad or indifferent. So I mean, yeah, he’s human, I’m human, we all make unwise decisions, we all make mistakes. I can live with that. I think he can live with that."

Christian Caple can be reached at Twitter: @ChristianCaple

SportsLink is your portal into sports news around the Inland Northwest and beyond. You'll find updates, notes and opinions, and plenty of reader feedback.

Looking for a Grip on Sports?

Vince Grippi's daily take on all things regional sports has been moved to our main sports section online. You can find a collection of these columns here.