Oregon is on the hunt for a new defensive coordinator following the demotion of Don Pellum from defensive coordinator to linebackers coach, a role he held from 2000 to 2013.
"Don is a great man who has helped shape the culture and growth of Oregon football in several different capacities for nearly 30 years," Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said in a statement. "He's committed, as we all are, to being part of the solution to improve the end results on the field."
Pellum's demotion comes after the Ducks blew a 31-0 halftime lead against TCU on Jan. 2 in the Valero Alamo Bowl. Oregon went scoreless in the second half as the Horned Frogs came all the way back to force overtime and then win 47-41 in triple overtime. In the second half and overtime combined, the Ducks allowed 403 yards and 47 points to open the door for the depleted TCU offense to tie for the biggest comeback victory in bowl history.
The past two years have been tumultuous for the Oregon defense. In 2014, Pellum's first season at the helm of the unit, the Ducks finished eighth in the Pac-12 in total defense and gave up 430 yards per game. Oregon's pass rush fared decently well, with 37 sacks, which put the unit in the middle of the conference. The unit thrived at turnovers, which helped Oregon to an FBS-best turnover margin of plus-23 as the unit forced opponents into 21 fumbles and 13 interceptions. However, the defense struggled against the run. It gave up 4.2 yards per rush (10th in the conference) and allowed a Pac-12-worst 84 rushes of 10 or more yards.
This season saw major regression from the Oregon defense. The Ducks finished last in the Pac-12 in total defense (485 yards per game) and ninth in yards per play (6.0). The young secondary struggled terribly against the pass and gave up 56 completions of 20-plus yards, which put the Ducks in the bottom six percent of the FBS in pass defense. The bright spot this season was a pass rush that produced 38 sacks (second best in the Pac-12) as well as the Pat Tillman defensive player of the year, DeForest Buckner.
Helfrich announced Monday that outside linebackers coach Erik Chinander is leaving to become defensive coordinator for another program.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.