Washington State Football: A Big ‘Hoorah’ for Mike Breske, a Big Difference for Coug ‘D’


Fans went straight crazy after the Cougs lost to Rutgers last Thursday night, calling for the head of Washington State Cougars’ defensive coordinator Mike Breske, but it’s time to cool off just a little bit.

Breske is making wholesale changes to the defensive secondary and a very important starter is returning to the linebacking corps, which should make a huge difference this week. While the run-game gashed the Cougar front time and time again for positive-and-beyond yardage, it was Rutger’s passing game that proved the most deadly weapon on that fateful night.

Particularly the inexperience of two-week-old safety Teondray Caldwell coupled with the lack of athleticism from one Tracy Clark doomed the Cougs time and time again, all the way from the first play of the game, a 78 yard touchdown pass on a simple go route. Mitch Peterson also struggled mightily in coverage, especially in the second half.

All that should at least be bridged this week with Charleston White at corner, Darius Lemora at safety and Cyrus Coen returning from an apparent injury. Coen is a senior but White and Lemora are freshmen, which would generally lead to panic and worry, but not in this case. Lemora came up with 6 late tackles, including a bone-crushing hit against the Scarlet Knights, catching the attention of many Coug supporters and apparently coaches.

White has been on the verge of this starting gig for awhile but got edged out by a ‘more consistent’ Clark in Fall ball. I tend to think Clark was just better at reading our offense after what I saw last week, which gave him the only edge I can find among an athletic group of youngsters on the corner. Clark is now the No. 2 boundary corner behind Daquawn. As for Caldwell, he is chilling with the 2’s as well for the moment and can hopefully provide some necessary depth at safety when called upon, but play-to-play he’s still not there yet.

Actually I applaud Breske for going out on a limb here and not wasting time making all of these moves. Mike Leach more or less called out the WSU gameplan and effort on Thursday, calling it one-dimensional and uninspired. With Coen back and two eager freshmen being inserted on the backend, I’m guessing (expecting) Breske gets after Nevada big-time with some exotic blitzes and whatever else he can think of. I want to see the Pack under intense pressure this week, fighting for every inch of real-estate.

I guess we’ll see if it’s all lip-service or a precursor to a big effort Friday night down in Reno. Hopefully it’s the ladder.