Few coaches have as daunting of a task as Oregon Ducks linebackers coach Don Pellum. The Ducks must replace three legendary linebackers in Kiko Alonso, Michael Clay and Dion Jordan who will all be taking their talents to the next level.
But losing key linebackers is no new thing for the Ducks. Following the 2010 season that ended in a national championship game appearance against the Auburn Tigers, Oregon had to replace two stars in Casey Matthews and Spencer Paysinger. With the Ducks’ liberal rotation on defense, they were just fine. The same should be the case in 2013 when Oregon will look to its young stars to step up.
While the Ducks’ offense seems to get most of the national attention, few realize how much pressure is put on the defense. Due to the offense’s quick drives, Oregon’s defense is constantly on the field. The Ducks have built a trend of rotation across all units on the defense, particularly within the linebackers and defensive linemen.
Pellum has been with the team for 20 seasons with positions as linebackers coach, recruiting coordinator and more. HIs contributions have led to the increase in Oregon recruiting, landing some of the most high-profile athletes to Eugene over the past decade.
As an Oregon alum, Pellum has been able to keep the tradition of Oregon football alive while continue its growth and development. Pellum completed his time with the Ducks in 1984 as a starting linebacker. He immediately began his coaching career right out after his college career as a graduate assistant with Oregon.
Since joining the team in 1985, Pellum has been with the Ducks for all but a few years. He spent one at Willamette University (1987) as an assistant and three at the University of California Berkley (1990-92) spent as recruiting coordinator.
His efforts and contributions to the team have not gone unnoticed. Pellum was awarded recruiting coach of the year in 2011 by several national publications.
Some of the impressive players Pellum has coached include Matthews, Paysinger, Anthony Trucks, Peter Sirmon, Wesley Mallard, Josh Kaddu, Dion Jordan and more. What’s impressive is the consistency in the talent level during his time with the Ducks. It seems the Ducks are never without great linebackers.
Oregon hopes to continue to build over the Mark Helfrich era with continued talent in the middle of the defense. Oregon will be building on young linebackers Joe Walker, Rahim Cassell, Tyson Coleman and Torrodney Prevot. Pellum is known for getting the most out of his players, and 2013 could be another telling season of this.