Moos expects new WSU d-coordinator hire soon

WASHINGTON STATE athletic director Bill Moos praised Mike Breske and Paul Volero as individuals and assistant football coaches Monday, but Moos made it clear that he supported the decision of head football coach Mike Leach to fire Breske and Volero. Moos said Leach had six potential candidates for defensive coordinator on his “short list” Sunday.

Moos said the new defensive coordinator won’t necessarily retain Breske’s 3-4 base defensive alignment or coach defensive backs like Breske did.

“I would expect we may have someone in place sooner than later,” Moos said.

Breske has been the defensive coordinator and secondary coach and Volero the outside linebackers coach (BUCK’s) since Leach arrived at Washington State in 2012.

“We were gaining enough yards and scoring enough points to win six, seven, maybe eight games,” Moos said on his weekly radio show in Spokane. “You put up 60 points, as we did (in a 60-59 loss to California), you ought to win that game.”

The 2014 Cougars finished 3-9, tied Oregon State for last in the Pac-12 Conference North Division and ranked among the nation’s worst defensive teams in a number of statistics.

“Mike Breske and Paul Volero are wonderful individuals and darn good football coaches,” Moos said. “Yet, we are committed to move this program to a position to compete and be in the upper tiers of our conference, to be in bowl games on a regular basis and to compete for a conference championship.”

Former Washington State quarterback Jason Gesser, who works in the WSU athletics department and as an analyst on Cougars football radio broadcasts, said he believes he knows the type of defensive coordinator Leach is seeking.

“Bend but not break on defense and not give up those big plays,” Gesser said on the radio show. “Not give up those big scores. Give up 28 points, 35 points and we’ll win those games.” The Cougars, who lead the nation in passing and rank seventh in total offense, gave up 41 or more points five times this season. They rank No. 45 in scoring offense. In their three wins, WSU yielded 21, 27 and 32 points. The Cougars rank 115th among 125 Football Bowl Subdivision teams with 38.6 points allowed per game and 98th with 442.3 total yards allowed.

“That’s not to say he’s (Breske is) not a good coach,” Gesser said. “It’s to say that he wasn’t the right fit, in my mind. For the offense and defense to fit and ‘marry up’ – understanding the philosophies of each other and making it work – that’s hard to do. It’s really hard to do. Breske is going to move on, and he’ll be a great coach somewhere else when he gets a new job. This is part of the business.”

Breske’s salary of $376,500 is the highest in school history for an assistant football coach. Volero made $181,500.

Leach’s 12-25 record (.324) ranks 29th among the 32 head football coaches Washington State has employed since football was first played at the school in 1894. Moos noted that Mike Price, the only coach to guide WSU to the Rose Bowl two times, had just one more win (13-20) than Leach in his first three seasons on the job.

Gesser, citing better talent recruited by Leach’s staff, said, “I truly do think that we’re closer (to future success) than a lot of people think.”

Leach fired one-third of his full-time assistants this year - special teams coach Eric Russell was terminated after the Cal loss in Week Six. The Cougars’ starting lineup and two-deep roster were loaded with freshmen and sophomores. Moos said the team lacked leadership from older players.

“In many regards, we have not had that,” Moos said. “Little spurts here and there, but it comes with junior and senior leadership and trust and admiration from within the locker room.” Sophomore cornerback Daquawn Brown seemed to lend support to Moos’ comments when Brown spoke about the WSU’s defense after a season-ending 31-13 loss to Washington on Saturday.

“I felt like last year we had a core group of guys that all had the same goal, just to out there and just kill, kill, kill,” Brown said. “We still had that this year, but I feel a lot of the time we were talking about so much that we weren’t doing it and we’ve just got to work on building that killer instinct.”

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