Breske talks Dotson, injuries, Pole and more

KENNEWICK – Mike Breske is a grandfather of four, but he hardly looks the part. The Washington State defensive coordinator, fit and energetic, seems like the type who might jump into contact drills without flinching. So it's not hard to imagine him winning an arm-wrestling contest with Mike Leach -- unless the match is figurative and the outcome decides where Isaac Dotson will line up come August.

Breske makes no secret about his affinity for the incoming freshman from Newport High.

"I would love to have him in as a linebacker," Breske told CF.C on Saturday at the 16th annual Tri-Cities Tailgate event.

He said he saw Dotson this spring and the multi-dimensional Bellevue product was much bigger than when he came to Pullman on a recruiting visit in the winter.

"He looked really good," Breske said. "I would love to have him."

Alas, Breske said, he expects Leach to give Dotson an opportunity at quarterback starting Day One.


DOTSON IN ELITE 11 ACTION A YEAR AGO.

Whether Dotson stays there remains to be seen, but at this point it's pretty clear the head coach is putting an end to any arm-wrestling matches before they can start.

Dotson was not only a two-way standout at Newport High over the last two seasons, but also an all-league basketball player. Scout.com rated him one of the top 100 safety prospects in the nation in the 2013 recruiting cycle, but analysts generally dubbed him "athlete," as he looks to have what it takes to play quarterback, safety, linebacker or slot receiver in college.

Dotson told CF.C in February that he'll play wherever coaches believe he can help the team most, but says he plans on making it difficult for them to place him anywhere but QB.

He and his fellow freshmen are expected be in Pullman on June 17 to get a jump-start on college life. They'll take six credits through the summer bridge program and participate in voluntary workouts organized by veteran Cougar players.

Asked about new players on defense who could find immediate playing time, Breske said he's taking a wait-and-see approach with the freshmen. But he said you can likely bank on seeing two junior college transfers who enrolled in January and took part in spring drills: Buck linebacker Ivan McLennan and defensive end Lyman Faoliu.

BRESKE SAID SEVERAL RETURNING DEFENDERS who were slowed or sidelined with injuries during spring workouts are expected to be at full strength by the Fourth of July.

Safety Deone Bucannon and linemen Robert Barber and Destiny Vaeao are already 100 percent, he said, and linebackers Logan Mayes and Chester Su'a, and nose tackle Ioane Gauta are nearly there.

Mayes' recent run-in with the law was not yet known publicly at the time of CF.C's interview with Breske.

As for the future of Toni Pole, who was arrested recently for giving a false name and birth date to police officers responding to a noise complaint, Breske was circumspect. At this point it's unclear whether the junior nose tackle will be back on the field this fall, he said. Ultimately, he noted, it will be the call of Coach Leach.

NOTABLE NOTES:

  • The Cougars ranked 81st in the nation in total defense last season, but after wrapping up spring practices Breske has no doubt which direction the unit is headed. "Each kid is already a better player than they were last year," he said.

  • Breske said last season the team was transitioning to his 3-4 base defense, and that year of experience now is allowing for more focus on strategy and refinement. "In spring ball we were already becoming more fluid," he said.

  • The Cougars are tentatively expected to report for fall camp on or about August 1, with the first game slated for Aug. 31 at Auburn.
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