Defensive coordinator optimistic Ducks can turn things around

Defensive coordinator Don Pellum believes his defense will turn it around
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon defensive coordinator Don Pellum knows that his seat is a little bit hotter after Oregon's 62-20 loss to Utah last Saturday. However, Pellum is confident that his guys will play better going forward.

“We’ve simplified some schemes, we’ve stepped up the competition and we’ve asked those guys to relax and just play,” Pellum said, according to The Register-Guard. “I don’t know that there are going to be any drastic changes, but I know we’re going to try to get the best 11 out there. … We need to go play fast and play hard, that’s what we’re working for.”

Part of the issue for Oregon's defense right now is lack of experience. Due to injuries and graduations, the Ducks are very young and very thin, especially in the defensive backfield.

“You can’t manufacture experience,” head coach Mark Helfrich said of the issues in the secondary. “If you make a mistake or do something great, put that in your hip pocket and learn from it.”

Overall, Pellum says that he's seen a lot of good things from Oregon's defense, but that the unit cannot continue to allow explosion plays.

“In the midst of these games there’s been some good things happening,” Pellum said. “You look at all these games and there’s from eight to 10 to 12 bad plays, explosion plays, and then there’s a lot of other good stuff that gets overshadowed. We need to hold on to the good things and then clean up the other things.”

As for how the team is feeling after the loss, Pellum says that he loves the energy in the building right now.

“The mood of this team right now is fabulous,” Pellum said. “Our kids are resilient. Today was their best practice for a lot of reasons. A lot of it was just the kids’ energy and spirit. As long as we keep that energy and fly around, we’ve got a chance to be successful.”

(h/t The Register-Guard)