The Early Glimpse: WSU vs. Idaho, and Mike Breske ain’t talking

MIKE BRESKE and his Idaho defense will match up against his former boss Mike Leach and the Air Raid on Saturday -- and so the storylines regarding the former Cougar defensive coordinator, fired after the 2014 season, are naturally numerous. Alas, Breske ain't talking.

This past Thursday, sent Idaho’s sports information department an interview request for Breske (pictured above in 2014).   For starters, we wanted to ask Breske how he recalls his time at WSU, and his departure. Does he still see or keep in touch with the WSU staff? Any lingering bitterness after being dismissed by Leach? How would he compare Leach to Idaho head man Paul Petrino?

On Monday afternoon, we received the following from UI SID: “Thank you for the opportunity. We are declining.” 

Asked why that was, UI SID sent a terse two word reply, “He declined.”

If a interview is putting a scare into Breske, imagine the havoc the likes of Luke Falk and Gabe Marks are wreaking on his beauty sleep ahead of Saturday's Battle of the Palouse.

The speculation here is that Breske and/or the SID don't trust him to bite his lip on what he thinks of Leach. Breske was fired by Leach after three seasons at Washington State (2012-14).

Or perhaps they envisioned us asking pesky questions and ruining a friendly between neighbors? 

Unfortunately, we'll never know.

Last week in Seattle, Breske's defense held Washington to one score in the first quarter -- and that came after an Idaho fumble on the opening kickoff gave UW a short 21-yard field.  Breske and the Vandals, though, got blown out from that point on with UW scoring 28 second quarter points on the way to a 59-14 pasting of Idaho.

Breske's 3-4 defensive unit allowed the Huskies 482 yards of total offense on 63 plays (7.7 avg.) along with six Husky touchdown passes -- 356 of UW's 482 hashes of total offense came through the air.

• THE KICKOFF: 11 am Pacific (Pac-12 Network)
• THE LOCALE: Martin Stadium (32,952)
• THE RECORDS: Cougs 0-2, Vandals 1-1
• THE LINE: WSU by 26

FAMILIAR FACES: In addition to Breske ... Idaho defensive back Kahshan Greene spent two seasons at Washington State as a walk on (2013-2014).  WR David Ungerer is the son of former WSU special teams/running backs coach Dave Ungerer  (2010-11).

Twelve Washingtonians are listed on Idaho's roster.

THE SERIES: Washington State leads 71–16–3.   Washington State last played Idaho in 2013, a 42-0 Cougar victory that led to a brouhaha between Leach and Petrino during the postgame handshake.

The last time WSU lost to Idaho was in 2000 (38-34).  The Cougs have won the last eight straight by an average margin of 43-12. 

USA Today projected the Vandals in 2016 to finish sixth in the 11-member Sun Belt conference. Idaho went 4-8 last season. Petrino is 7-30 at Idaho since the start of the 2013 season.

Few people have the experience Breske does in going against Leach’s Air Raid day in and day out in practice for three years while in Pullman.

In Idaho's season opening win over Montana State, Idaho showed an active defensive front, adding more bodies closer to the line of scrimmage as the game wore on.

WSU running backs coach Jim Mastro was at Idaho for two years way back in 1998-99. During his tenure in Moscow, Mastro coached the 1998 Big West Player of the Year and Idaho’s career rushing leader, Joel Thomas.

Idaho is joining the FCS and the Big Sky in 2018.

WSU hasn't announced the agreement yet but according to a report from, WSU has scheduled Idaho for the 2020 season and will pay UI $550,000 for the game. 

Idaho after its first two games ranks 109th in scoring defense and No. 83 in total defense in the FBS.  Over on offense, the Vandals rank 116th and 103rd in scoring offense and total offense, respectively.

Last year, Breske's first as Idaho's defensive coordinator, Idaho finished 122nd in scoring defense and 117th in total defense for 2015-16.

Two games in, WSU ranks 23rd in total offense, 53rd in scoring offense, 109th in scoring defense and 118th in total defense.

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