Reports: Leavitt to be named defensive coordinator at Oregon

BY AP • December 14, 2016

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) Colorado defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt is joining new head coach Willie Taggart's staff at Oregon, according to reports. first reported Wednesday that Leavitt, a former head coach at South Florida like Taggart, would be the Ducks' defensive coordinator. Oregon would not confirm the report, which cited anonymous sources.

But Leavitt posted to Twitter Wednesday evening: ''I love CU, players, Boulder and all alum! Been great to me! Couldn't pass up opportunity for family! South Champs! Been a great ride!!''

Leavitt has spent the past two seasons with the Buffaloes. This season Colorado is ranked 17th nationally for total defense, allowing an average of 328.3 yards per game, and 18th for scoring defense, allowing 20.5 yards per game.

The No. 11 Buffaloes (10-3) will play Oklahoma State in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29. It is Colorado's first bowl game since 2007.

''Surprised by the announcement, but thankful for what (at)CoachJimLeavitt has done for the program. Good luck in the future coach,'' Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau posted on Twitter.

Leavitt also spent four seasons with the San Francisco 49ers under coach Jim Harbaugh. Leavitt was the first head coach at South Florida, from 1997-2009.

Taggart, who spent the past four seasons at South Florida, was hired last week to take over the Ducks following a disappointing 4-8 season and the dismissal of coach Mark Helfrich.

Taggart and Leavitt share a connection to Harbaugh. As a player Taggart was recruited to Western Kentucky by Harbaugh, whose father Jack was coach of the Hilltoppers. Later Taggart was an assistant under Harbaugh at Stanford.

Leavitt will have his work cut out for him at Oregon. Former Michigan coach Brady Hoke attempted to install a new 4-3 defensive scheme and the Ducks finished the season ranked 126th out of the 128 FBS-level teams for total defense, allowing opponents an average of 528.4 yards per game. Oregon allowed an average of 41.4 points per game, ranked 125th nationally.

When Oregon President Michael Schill introduced Taggart at a news conference last Thursday, he said his only advice to the new coach was to ''go find a great defensive coordinator.''

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