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Mike Breske has high hopes for deeper Idaho defense

Idaho defensive coordinator Mike Breske. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Idaho defensive coordinator Mike Breske. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

MOSCOW – Mike Breske’s last two defensive coordinator jobs have been on the Palouse, first at Washington State and now at Idaho.

If you’re wondering if he has a fondness for the area’s rolling wheat fields or chose UI so he could stay in the region, think again.

“There’s nothing wrong with the area,” Breske said. “But in this profession, you go where you go.”

The Vandals are entering Year 2 of Breske’s 3-4 defensive scheme, and they’re hoping to show more than the occasional glimmer of promise they did defensively last year. They allowed 42.1 points per game last year, tied for fifth-most in the FBS and nearly five more points per game than in 2014.

Breske expects increased depth and experience to lead to better results. Fifth-year senior Jayshawn Jordan, who moved to safety from cornerback, returns after missing all but three games last year to injury. Linebacker Tony Lashley, who missed some of fall camp, is also expected to return after being injured most of 2015.

They’ll be joined by several impact defenders: Kaden Elliss, a linebacker who was second on the team in tackles as a true freshman last year; senior tackle Tueni Lupeamanu, the leader of the line; and junior cornerback Dorian Clark, who had a great fall camp, Breske said.

With a strong core back, the Vandals are looking to improve on the 13 sacks they had last year – their lowest total since 2008 – and 17 takeaways.

“Our defense believes we are going to be dominant this year,” Elliss said. “We believe we’re going to get a ton of sacks, a ton of turnovers. We believe we’re going to shut teams down and play how we did when we played well last year, because there were some games we played really well against solid opponents and others games we didn’t against teams we should have played really well against.”


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