Getting to Know Inoke Breckterfield

A former two-time All-Pac-10 defensive lineman, Inoke Breckterfield joins the Wisconsin staff after three years coaching defensive tackles at Pittsburgh. What is he bringing to the table in terms of position coaching and recruiting? BadgerNation breaks it down.

It's unfair to expect Inoke Breckterfield to turn a Wisconsin defensive lineman into the next Aaron Donald. Everything Aaron Donald did was because of Aaron Donald, and any coach including Breckterfield would admit to that.

Pitt's defensive line took a major hit with the loss of Donald (a first-round pick by the Rams) in 2014. It was evident from the start. 'Nokes' as he's affectionately known by fellow coaches and players is well-liked and respected by that group. In fact, he was one of the popular coaches to players, even guys who weren't defensive tackles--many looked up to him. It was hard to get a gauge on his X's and O's in just a short term at Pitt. One thing that raises a red flag - Breckterfield was the defensive line coach in 2012. Former Wisconsin assistant John Palermo was brought in for the 2013 season, where he was named defensive ends coach, leaving only the tackles to Breckterfield. Neither position was productive this past season.


The jury is still out. He's a likeable guy, a player’s coach, if you will. He seems to be genuinely passionate about recruiting, and he does have some ties to the west coast, some in Florida - places where he seems to also be respected. It's hard to say that he has one area on complete lockdown. Give him time, though. It's not to say he won't, the longer he's around the game.

He was able to sign a defensive tackle out of Hawaii in his first year at Pitt, also a place where Breckterfield has some ties. If you want to place one in the win column for Breckterfield, this would be it right here - getting a kid to come from Hawaii and sign with Pittsburgh, after picking up an offer and taking an official visit in a matter of a few days. He could have an even easier time making that sell to get a kid like that to come to Wisconsin, as the Badgers have received commitments from island players in consecutive years.

The one thing most folks know about Chryst is his loyalty, especially to guys he's coached with before. Breckterfield played under Mike Riley, who is Chryst's best friend in the business aside from Barry Alvarez. There's no question Riley vouched for Breckterfield to get the Pitt job. However, if the position struggles, don't look for Chryst to toss Breckterfield aside. He's too loyal to his assistants in that sense.

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