With Mario Cristobal and Jim Leavitt, Oregon football is believing again

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — When Willie Taggart left for Florida State, Oregon football players took a vote and decided they wanted offensive line and co-offensive coordinator Mario Cristobal to take over. They got their wish. “First time [Cristobal] came in the room, I could see the smile on everyone’s faces,” redshirt …

According to a press release sent out by the University of Oregon Thursday morning, Oregon defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Jim Leavitt has agreed to mutually part ways with the program.

Oregon athletics will fund the agreement which will come from private sources and include a maximum amount of $2.5 million. This is amount is subject to change base on future employment and will also be payable over multiple years.

The program has already begun a search to fill Leavitt's role, stated the press release.

On Wednesday, 247Sports first reported the news.

Leavitt had been with the program for two years, concluding with the 2018 season.

Leavitt has been a coach for 39 seasons and was the head coach at South Florida for 12 seasons.

In his two seasons leading the Oregon defense, Leavitt has brought a Pac-12 cellar-dwelling defense into one of the most formidable in the NCAA. In 2016, the defense was ranked 126, this past season it was ranked 49.

In 2018, Oregon held opposing teams to 25.38 points and 385.9 yards. One of the most impressive parts of this past season’s defense was that they allowed just 20 touchdowns in 49 opposing red zone trips.

The Oregon defense returns eight starters with important pieces like linebacker Troy Dye, safety Jevon Holland, cornerbacks Deommodore Lenoir and Thomas Graham Jr. and freshman sensation Kayvon Thibodeaux all expected to play big roles this season.

Some players tweeted GIFs seemingly about the breaking news:

The report by 247Sport said that co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Keith Heyward would be promoted to full-time duties.

Heyward’s unit was arguably the best on the entire Oregon roster. Senior Ugochukwu Amadi (55 tackles, three interceptions and two touchdowns), sophomore Nick Pickett (59 tackles and one interception) and Holland (five interceptions) all had strong seasons.

This story will be updated when more information becomes available.

Follow Maverick Pallack on Twitter: @mavpallack

Follow Maggie Vanoni on Twitter: @maggie_vanoni

Maverick is an associate sports editor and reporter covering football, tennis, baseball, softball and basketball. To contact him, email him at [email protected]

Sports Reporter

Maggie is a senior sports reporter covering all things Oregon sports including football, volleyball, women's basketball and softball. Contact her via email at [email protected]

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