Pellum Talks Defense Pros and Cons

Pellum shares his concerns and excitements with what he saw at the first scrimmage of the season.
Pellum at the 2014 spring game, in his signature black jumpsuit.

Kevin Cline

Pellum at the 2014 spring game, in his signature black jumpsuit.

On a sunny morning in Eugene, Defensive Coordinator Don  Pellum watched the first day of scrimmage in a  black sweat jumpsuit and a pair of shades. He walked up to the media swarm, and put on a Hollywood-sized smile. “How is everybody today? Wonderful.”

In Pellum’s first full season as the defensive coordinator, the Ducks were able to reach the National Championship, not bad for your first year on the job. However, the 42-20 loss to Ohio State in the title game left some major question marks for the future of Oregon’s starting 11 on the defensive side. My colleague and fellow writer Ashley Young and I met up with Pellum to discuss his initial reactions to the team’s first scrimmage of the spring.

Pellum seemed optimistic yet unsatisfied with the overall performance of the defense. “There was a lot of good, and a lot … not so good, but typical for the first scrimmage … Today wasn’t a ‘bad day,’ but as a coach, you strive for perfection.” Pellum has committed to focusing on the basic fundamentals for the entire defense for the first two weeks of practice. “Through the first two weeks, it was fundamentals: tackling, getting off blocks, all those things.”

"If Deforest keeps making the plays that he has been making, that is all we can ask for." - Pellum

Kevin Cline

“If Deforest keeps making the plays that he has been making, that is all we can ask for.” – Pellum

The good: Pellum saw some big hits and some flashes of “being the team that they need to be.” Deforest Buckner has embraced the leadership role on the defensive line, in the midst of Arik Armstead going pro. Pellum has also noticed the potential of receiver-turned-corner Charles Nelson. “Charles is exciting. He still needs to learn a bit, but the things that he knows, it is just exciting to watch.”

The “not so good”: Pellum stated that the overall play was at times sloppy: missed tackles, miscommunication, and missed opportunities for big hits. When asked if any of the linebackers had stepped up during scrimmage, Pellum shrugged and said: “I didn’t really see anybody assert himself today … the group looked good up until today. Now they’re just inconsistent.”

Top Photo by Craig Strobeck


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Daniel Kantor

Daniel Kantor

Daniel “Kantor” Kantor is a soon-to-be graduating 5th year senior at the University of Oregon majoring in advertising with a double minor in business and music. He hails from Southern California and grew up in a UCLA family, where he learned from a very young age to despise the USC Trojans. He switched to the green side when he committed to attend the U of O and witnessed his first ever Duck game: Oregon: 72, New Mexico: 0. That season turned into the magical roller coaster that was the year of the 2011 BCS National Championship against Auburn (I will argue to the death that he was down). Aside from rooting for the Ducks, you can find Daniel rooting for the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Giants, Dodgers, and the 6th grade Eugene basketball tem he coaches. I also have a husky as a pet, but she’s definitely a husky fan. Daniel plans to move to Portland after graduation to pursue a job in media.