The Oregon Ducks have built up a consistent, winning program over the years in part because of the continuity of their coaching staff. Many of the assistants on staff have been in Eugene for over a decade which has helped to cultivate a culture of excellence that has made Oregon into a perennial Pac-12 contender. Having the same voices and the same philosophies carry over year after year has been pivotal in making sure that Oregon’s success is sustained and that the culture of the program is permanently changed for the better.
That continuity was in jeopardy it seemed when long-time defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti retired after 17 seasons after the Ducks’ 30-7 win over the Texas Longhorns in the Valero Alamo Bowl. Aliotti was an institution in Eugene and led a defensive unit that continued to get better year after year even if people failed to notice. But Oregon was able to maintain their continuity by promoting from within, naming longtime defensive assistant Don Pellum the new defensive coordinator.
For the last 14 years, Pellum has been the linebackers coach for the Oregon defense, a role he will continue to fill as the new defensive coordinator. The 51-year-old has learned and studied under Aliotti for pretty much his entire coaching career but plans on putting his own stamp on the defense in 2014. While we don’t know what exactly that entails, it doesn’t figure to be a huge departure from what the Ducks have been doing recently with great success. Last season, Oregon ranked No. 2 in the Pac-12 in scoring defense, allowing 20.5 points per game, and No. 3 in total defense.
Head coach Mark Helfrich is confident that Pellum will pick up the job quickly and lead the Ducks to even greater heights in 2014. Thanks to his deep familiarity with the program and this roster, you can count on Pellum getting his stint as defensive coordinator off to a fast start next fall.