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Oregon hires Colorado’s Jim Leavitt as defensive coordinator

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“Go out and find a great defensive coordinator.” Mission accomplished.

West Virginia v South Florida Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images

At Willie Taggart’s introductory press conference, University of Oregon president Michael Schill said that Oregon’s newest head coach should “go out and find a great defensive coordinator.”

It looks as if Taggart has his man.

On Wednesday, Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports tweeted out that Oregon has hired Colorado defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt for the same position with the Ducks.

According to reports, Leavitt will become the highest paid coordinator in the history of the Pac-12.

Leavitt served as the original head coach at South Florida from 1997-2009, compiling a 95-57 record. He then went to the NFL where he served as linebackers coach for the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-2014 before returning to college as Colorado’s defensive coordinator for the past two seasons.

This year, Colorado ranked second in the conference in total defense, giving up 328 yards per game on average. Only Washington had a better defense at 316 yards per game. From 2011-2014 (before Leavitt took over), the Buffaloes finished 10th or worse in total defense every year.

Oregon, meanwhile, ranked 11th in the conference, allowing on average 518 yards per game.

This is a home run hire for Taggart, who needed to make a huge splash when bringing in a defensive coordinator, and that’s exactly what he did here. Much like Taggart, Leavitt knows a thing or two about turning things around. The fact that Taggart swiped a top defensive coordinator from within the conference makes it that much sweeter.