With Kwiatkowski and Avalos off to new opportunities, fresh faces look to make an impact on the defensive side of the ball in the Pac-12.
Photo: Arizona Athletics
Article By WestCoastCFB
1. Don Brown (Arizona)
The Wildcats have managed to land one of the greatest DC's in all of CFB due to the relationship Brown had with Fisch from their time at Michigan together. No Pac-12 DC has the track record of success that Brown has had in his career. Since 2015 his defenses have ranked 4th, 2nd, 13th, 16th, and 25th before experiencing a drop off in 2020 where his defense ranked 95th. We're betting that Brown's 2020 defense was an anomaly and he will build the Wildcats into a force to be reckoned with.
2. Morgan Scalley (Utah)
2019 was Scalley's finest work as a defensive coordinator. The Utes dominated defensively while ranking 6th nationally in points allowed per game. The Utah defense managed to hold 6 opponents to 7 points or less during the 11 win campaign. Scalley has been at Utah since 2006 and assumed the play calling duties in 2016. His first two defenses ranked 34th and 39th nationally before making a jump to 17th in points allowed per game in 2018. Utah lost 6 defensive players to the 2020 NFL Draft and ended up allowing 26 PPG this season, ranking 46th nationally. Utah returns nearly all of their starters in 2021 and should have a formidable defense once again.
3. Tim DeRuyter (Oregon)
DeRuyter did an outstanding job with the Cal defense after inheriting a unit that ranked 127th nationally in points allowed per game in 2016. In DeRuyter's first season in Berkeley he elevated the defense to 79th in points allowed per game in 2017, and then 22nd in 2018, 33rd in 2019 and 48th in 2020. DeRuyter is now off to Oregon where he will have greater talent at his disposal and should quickly field a dominant defense with Kayvon Thibodeaux, Noah Sewell and Mykael Wright in 2021.
4. Bob Gregory (Washington)
Gregory is one of the top Linebacker coaches in the conference and is known for his ability to develop. He will now replace Pete Kwiatkowski as the Husky Defensive Coordinator and has big shoes to fill but many may remember that Gregory was a successful DC at Cal from 2002-2009 under Tedford. At Cal, Gregory took over a defense that had allowed 39.2 PPG and reduced that number to 26.5 in his 1st season. Gregory continued to improve the Cal defense and in 2004 the Golden Bears ranked 8th nationally while allowing just 16 points per game. His defenses ranked in the top 60 every year from 2003-2009 and 4 times they were in the top 32.
5. Todd Orlando (USC)
Orlando came to the Trojans in 2020 from Texas and quickly brought the USC defense back to respectability. The Trojan's jumped from 78th nationally in PPG allowed to 47th. During Orlando's time with the Longhorns his defenses ranked 29th, 57th and 65th but during a 4 year run at Utah State and Houston he had 4 top 30 defenses in a row. We give Orlando the 5th spot in our rankings but Peter Sirmon and Antonio Pierce look like risers who could be on this list next year.