WSU coach Mike Leach decided it was time to make another change on his coaching staff: Defensive coordinator Mike Breske is out of a job. In addition to Breske, outside linebackers coach Paul Volero is also reportedly out. Bruce Feldman and Cougfan each reported the news on Twitter.
Breske came to WSU from Montana with a reputation for an aggressive, blitzing style that Leach envisioned complementing his wide-open Air Raid. But it never came to pass.
While the offense made tremendous strides under the new regime, the defense continually lagged behind. After a modest improvement in the first season under Breske, the defense dropped from 73rd in yards per play allowed in 2012 (5.68) to 92nd last season (5.92) to 104th this season (6.18). In his three seasons, Breske's defense yielded 40 or more points a whopping 13 times in 37 games.
Among the embarrassments this season? Giving up 41 in a three-point loss to a Rutgers team that hasn't scored more than 31 against any other FBS school, and giving up 44 in a one-point loss to Cal.
The biggest culprit this season has been the inexperienced secondary, which has repeatedly been shredded. Breske and his staff failed to adequately replace four departing seniors from last season's New Mexico Bowl team, and in a league with some very good quarterbacks, opposing passing attacks have feasted.
Leach now embarks on a full-scale search for a new coordinator, and it's impossible to speculate as to who might be a candidate -- Breske's name came out of nowhere when he was hired.
Besides, that's not even remotely the most pressing issue for the program -- the top priority at the moment is keeping the 2015 class together, and since many recruits pick schools based on the relationships they form with coaches, changing the defensive coordinator could have a ripple effect on what is currently the best class WSU has assembled in some time.
One recruit to keep an eye on in particular is Austin Joyner, a four star cornerback out of Marysville-Pilchuck H.S. in western Washington. Breske -- who had doubled as the secondary coach -- is one of the recruiters on Joyner, who is still drawing lots of interest from programs such as Washington and Boise State.
Washington State will now look to revamp its defensive coaching staff, with Joe Salave'a and Ken Wilson sticking around.