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Oregon Ducks Head Coach Mario Cristobal gives intructions to the team. Oregon Ducks football takes on Arizona State at Autzen Stadium in Eugene Ore. on Nov. 17, 2018. (Devin Roux/Emerald)

Head coach Mario Cristobal has found his man to call the plays on the defensive side for the foreseeable future.

Andy Avalos, who signed a three-year deal worth $2.45 million, was introduced to the media on Monday as the new defensive coordinator for Oregon.

Here are some takeaways from the press conference:

What Avalos brings to the table

Avalos will enter the defensive coordinator position with a bevy of talented options that can operate in his scheme. His scheme will include multiple looks, such as off fronts, even fronts or bear fronts, against his Pac-12 opposition.  

Outside of the defensive coordinator position, Avalos will coach the “stud” position, a stand up defensive end. But Avalos' first line of business will be to build a stout run defense that can eliminate explosive plays. He will also look to put an emphasis on quarterback pressure as well. He will look to continue to do what he did at Boise State by making Oregon one of the top-25 defenses in the nation.

“It’s exciting," Avalos said. "A lot of pieces are in place and obviously we just signed a really good recruiting class.”

Cristobal’s route to secure Avalos

After Cristobal and former-defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt “mutually agreed to part ways,” Cristobal began a thorough and extensive interview process.

“Any time that there is a change, certainly in college football we see it all the time, any and all things that transpire to the program are for the betterment of the program and its players,” Cristobal said. “It is what it is. Changes are made, people move on and it's as simple as that.”

Cristobal got his first look at an Avalos-led defensive when Oregon played Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl in 2017. Cristobal had seen enough to interview Avalos for the position. He was searching for someone who was a leader and had the ability to bring the pieces together on the defensive side with vast knowledge.

After the process of multiple candidates at all different levels, Avalos was the man who checked all the boxes for Cristobal and Oregon.

“We don't hire friends and acquaintances, we hire people that are the best for the program,” Cristobal said.

Despite Avalos being a former player-turned-coach at Boise State, Cristobal was able to lure him away from his alma mater.

“When Coach Cristobal reached out to me about this opportunity, I’m not going to lie to you, I was really, really excited,” Avalos said. “From the standpoint of the tradition and the brand here and where this program is going and what the leadership here is doing.”

Spring Ducks

Oregon will begin its first day of spring practice on March 9, which will allow the team to get adjusted to the new defensive scheme. The Ducks will begin spring football without some of their players due to injury.

Calvin Throckmorton (leg injury) and Sam Poutasi (knee surgery), who sued the University of Oregon after his hospitalization in 2017, will be out for the spring. Gary Baker will miss about half of the spring with an ankle injury. Austin Faoliu and Cale Millen will miss the first part of spring but are expected to return. Cam McComick will be back at full-speed for Oregon after his season ended early due to injury.

The Ducks additional incoming freshmen, Mycha Pittman, Mykael Wright, Cam Lewis and Patrick Herbert, will join in the second half of spring season.

Bobby Williams, who coaches the special teams, will also coach tight ends this season.

“A lot of energy, a lot of juice surrounding the program and some of the changes and a lot of other positive stuff that is going on,” Cristobal said. “We’re looking forward to getting on that field on Saturday.”

Follow Gabriel Ornelas on Twitter @gabe_ornelas

Gabriel is a sports reporter covering women's volleyball, women's soccer, men's basketball, baseball, women's lacrosse and football.


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