Is Avalos Coaching His Last Game As a Duck?

Joshua Whitted Editorials 36 Comments

The plan was never for defensive coordinator Andy Avalos to spend his entire coaching career at Oregon. The budding star has seen his stock rise over the past few seasons, and it was only a matter of time before schools with head coaching openings came calling.

That time is now. Auburn recently hired former Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin to fill its coaching vacancy, which now makes Avalos one of the top candidates to replace Harsin at Boise State, according to numerous outlets. This should come as a surprise to no one. Avalos both coached for and played at Boise, he has led elite defenses at multiple stops, and he’s a very enthusiastic recruiter. Avalos should be a coaching candidate for many programs, but specifically for the Broncos, considering his ties to the school.

From Twitter

Avalos could soon be on the move.

Although Mario Cristobal brushed aside the Avalos-to-Boise rumors, saying there was “nothing to report” in a recent interview, there’s no doubt that the Broncos are at least going to strongly consider making a push for Avalos, if they haven’t already. In fact, Dennis Dodd recently reported that Avalos is one of the top-two names to watch in the Boise State coaching search.

No one would fault Avalos if he does end up leaving the Ducks to coach his Alma Mater. But it would leave Oregon with the difficult task of replacing one of its coordinators for the second straight season.

This is the season of speculation, and of course, until further notice, Avalos is focused on slowing down Breece Hall and the talented Iowa State offense. But hypothetically speaking, if the Fiesta Bowl does end up being Avalos’s last game in green and yellow, who are some candidates to replace him? Can Cristobal and company find a good enough replacement to keep the defense from bottoming out, or would Avalos’s departure be a crippling blow to an Oregon defense that could benefit from continuity?

Joshua Whitted
Morgantown, West Virginia
Top Photo by Kevin Cline

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Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

T-Minus….less than a day and counting…for the release of the Our Beloved Ducks Forum!

It will be open to the public tomorrow, the 26th, and I invite all of you to become a part of it and I ask for patience with the inevitable issues that arise.

This forum will be like none other…


Hello Duck Faithful! This is my first ever post on FishDuck, though I’ve been a long time reader. I’m honored to be apart of the discussion, finally and am ready to give my two cents (for what it’s worth, lol).

Possibly losing AA to his dream job sadly reminds a bit of when Taggart left for his dream job a few years ago. BIG difference between the two (other then him not being our HC) is Avalos won’t be getting that type of money and he’s definitely not gonna be such a snake about it by lying to the players and recruits. He’s got a bigger heart than slick-willie an cares very much about these kids.

If such a change does happen in such a short time I actually have faith in MC to bring in someone just as good or better. With the trajectory this team is on plus the recruits Cristobals bringing in shows he’s on a mission to create something great in Eugene.

The only thing I wonder is the scheme the new DC would bring with him. AA brought a scheme that had a lot of different looks, which created a ton of confusion. With blitzes coming from all angles and in the secondary, this kept QBs off balance (which is why it would suck even more with him leaving with all the talent this team has).

Avalos, from my understanding, was also a great linebackers coach/developer. Oregon’s got good LBs, but they could be GREAT. Noah Sewell just gave the Ducks their second straight freshman defensive player of the year award, and he didn’t even have to compete with Flowe. I know we all thought the same thing when these two signed with us… Linebacker U. Obviously with their youth it’ll take some time, but man these backers could be good.

Anyways, I know that was a bit long but I’ve held a lot of thoughts in over the years. But after so long I’ve learned so much from all the great football fans and coaches who contribute to this site. And of course, the God Father himself, Sir Charles Fischer.

Also,thank you Joshua for another great article to ponder on. This was a topic that’s been in ALL our Duck thoughts the last few days. Peace and happy holidays!

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Great to see you post, and WELCOME!

And thank you, although this fish considers himself “The Codfather.” :)

I do hope you will post over on the new forum, as we are already having more discussions than here and it is going to be a blast.

David Marsh

If Avalos leaves MC will find someone to replace him and potentially someone “better”. I think the changing schemes of the pac-12 away from the spread and more prostyle might require a different scheme than what Avalos is running so far.

Though if Avalos stays then we just get to see him evolve and continue to build Oregon into a defensive power.

J Duck

Would make me nervous…0-3 against BSu in my memory, on our schedule 3x in next 5 years. Would be nice to give him $2M as Oregon DC, probably more than BSu can pay a new HC. Pay AA and JM big-time DC/OC bucks! But the desire to be an HC is big for a lot of guys


It is interesting, and I think overall a positive sign that in the last few days, we’ve had articles and discussion about whether we can keep all our coaches. If they, and the team isn’t doing well that isn’t a problem.

But, if a coach and the team is doing well, other teams notice. Nobody is knocking on Heritage Hall to get Clay.

Jon Joseph

Did you know?

Mr. FishDuck did not celebrate Christmas as a child; Jesus had yet to be born.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Made me laugh! I am old, but fortunately not that old.

I am in the process of creating the best set of directions ever on the web for how to do everything in a forum. I guarantee that everyone will learn something new, and they are all easy to do!

I’m so excited, as my gift to all of you is unwrapped tomorrow…

Jon Sousa

OK. Made me laugh again!


Avalos brought in, and installed a defensive system that has overall worked very well for one and a half seasons. My understanding is that he is the one who calls the defense on game days. He also seems to be an excellent recruiter. So, this would be a big loss.

If he should depart, I think there would be a high likelihood that Keith Hayward would be promoted up from Co-Defensive coordinator. Hayward applied for the DC job after Leavitt’s departure, and was promoted to Co-DC as an acknowledgement of his value to the program (as was Big Joe), even though Avalos is the de facto DC.

If Keith (or Big Joe) were to be given the DC job we would likely retain the same system (the magic wand) but lose the wizard who developed and wielded it. OTOH, if an outsider like Sirmon came in, we might be installing (and learning) a new system, perhaps absent one or more of the coaches who was passed over for the promotion.

Lots of moving parts, so I hope Mario does a heck of a sell job to keep Andy around!

Jon Joseph

Benji will likely have to chip in?

Jon Joseph

WOW. I know that Sirmon has already beamed out.

Jon Joseph

Thank you Joshua. Merry Christmas!

I asked Santa for a Fiesta Bowl win. The extra days of having to be nice rather than naughty, of waiting to find out if the Old Guy from Way Up North will come through on 1/2/21? Not easy! (Compared to Santa, QuackCanadian lives in a tropical paradise.)

Speaking of pair-of-dice: please folks, keep throwing more minuses in the Cyclones direction, please? Yes Santa, I’m that positive about having a party in Phoenix. Nevertheless, I will always accept all of the pluses I can get.

You made a key point early on in this great ponder point, Joshua. We are all aware that someday and probably sooner rather than later, AA will be off to another gig. A Brent Venables staying with Dabo as the Clemson DC for so many years, when Venables has had numerous offers to leave Clemson, is extremely rare in this day and age. AA is a most logical HC candidate for the Broncos job.

Kellen Moore? I’d be Lion if I writ other than IMO, we are more likely to see Moore of Kellen in Detroit next season and not in Boise? I think Kellen has his sights set on an NFL career. After being the OC for America’s Team, will he be content returning to Boise? Looks like Boise will be moving to the AAC as a football member, but the AAC is still the G5. And whatever Boise can afford to pay him, he’ll make that and more in the NFL, and with no worries about recruiting, and where going .500 can get you into a real Playoff.

On the other hand, the Boise HC gig would be a perfectly logical career move for AA. 1 of the plumb G5 places to start a career as a HC.

I do want to add that I really do not ‘get’ Auburn firing Malzahn (to the tune of @$40M including asst. coach buyouts) and hiring a guy with no head coaching experience in the P5 or the NFL. A guy who does have ties, none recent, to the south, but has not recruited in the southland for many a moon. Under Malzahn, these Tigers played for and nearly won, a BCS title. And Malzahn defeated Bama and Saint Nick on 2 occasions. (Thrice, if you count Gus being the OC for CAM?) With Malzahn unexpectedly getting the pink slip, Auburn’s 2021 recruiting ranking slipped into the 40’s. Dangerously low for any team serious about competing in the SEC. I will not be surprised to see plenty of Auburn guys entering the transfer portal?

Malzahn would have been a far better hire at Arizona than Jedd Fisch. But you think Gus would head to Tucson for an opening salary of $1.8M? Just more evidence of a conference member trying to succeed in the P5 on-the-cheap. The Ducks has to share $6M in NY6 $ with these guys? Oregon has to stop carrying these buffoons, and find greener pastures soon. $1.8M? That’s G5 and top assistant $.

Good luck Bryan, I think you are going to need it. Just make sure your agent scores a big buyout #. Auburn Boosters and Reality? These 2 do not co-exist.


Wise words my friend, Kellen to Detroit makes sense, stay in the NFL, get away from Jerry. Auburn is having a very tough time explaining this move to their fans. First they get rid of Malzahn, at a high price, then, instead of getting Mario at whatever cost, they get a guy from Boise State? It is going to be interesting seeing how his first press conference goes.

Jon Joseph

They are not happy on The Plains. And I get it. What a stupid move to fire Gus, who had an OK COVID season, without having the new guy in place.

The Auburn boosters are delusional. They expect an SEC title every season at a school that has not won all that many. The recruiting is now behind division foes Bama, LSU and A+M. Behind UF and UGA on the east side.

Harsin’s experience in Dixie? A year as the HC at Arkansas State where he went 7-5.

IMO, a senseless fire and a panicked hire.


Yeah for sure Auburn idiots but best luck to Harsin


GO DUCKS !!!!!


One item I am sure he will consider is it won’t be a large increase in salary. On the down side it would be a large increase in responsibility and a huge drop in talent pool to coach.

If one just does a plus’s, minus’s analysis, this job isn’t as appealing as it would seem. The one big factor is it may be his dream job to be the head coach at BSU. If so I wish him well and I am sure he will be successful.

He will have left us in a great position going forward and for that I am grateful. I hope he stays, but we will continue to move onward and forward.

As far as candidates, I am sure there are many extremely capable coaches who would want to coach the talent level we have on defense and get the support he would receive. My pick would be Peter Sirmon, bring back some Duck alumni!

Jon Joseph

But, if your goal is to one day be a P5 head coach, you could not ask for a better G5 stepping-stone than this one. Plus, a place you are intimately familiar with, and where you have had prior success.

This gig is far from being asked to turn UNLV around.


Or he could become the Head Coach for a while at BSU? I hope he achieves all his dreams, and dreams do seem to happen when coaches take the BSU job. All the best in the coming year to all!

Jon Sousa

It may not be any increase in salary. Avalos is about to get his contract renegotiated here. He could get close to $2M as we all think he is worth it. Also, he hasn’t shown, or realized himself, how good of a defense he could have with the elite talent that is coming in.

AA has chops as a recruiter. He doesn’t need Boise as a stepping stone. 2 or three more years at Oregon, coaching a top 3 defense in the country, helping Oregon win their first national championship…. This is all you need to step up to a Power 5 head coaching job.

Jon Joseph

Great points. He is in a great place if he gets the Boise offer. He will get a pay bump and stay or go, he will be in an excellent position to advance his career.

$2M a year? More than Arizona is paying its new football HC.

But a Natty in 3 years? That’s some holiday spirit (or is it spirits?) my friend.

Jon Sousa

Yes. I said close to $2M. What did we pay Leavitt after one year????? Avalos is better.


Best wishes to Avalos should he take the Boise State job. Mario has done a great job replacing coaches and I expect he would do so again with this one, some possible candidates?

How about Brad Lambert from Marshall, the Thundering Herd finished 3rd in total defense this season. or maybe San Diego State’s, Kurt Mattix. This is Mattix’s first season at SDS, coached by Brady Hoke, and the defense finished 4th in total defense.

Here is the list of top defenses this season.

Jon Joseph

Pretty good offer, if it comes, for a DC in charge of the 70th ranked D in the country.


Boise would be the perfect spot for Avalos. We need him but I would wish him well.

Jon Joseph

How could AA’s first HC gig happen in a better place than this?