On Monday, amid a flurry of announcements about players declaring early for the NFL Draft and some assistant coaching changes, Utah announced the retirement of defensive coordinator John Pease. Morgan Scalley, who had been the safeties coach for the Utes, has been promoted to the defensive coordinator role by head coach Kyle Whittingham.
“We appreciate the passion, energy and coaching expertise that John Pease brought to our program on a daily basis,” Whittingham said in a released statement. “While we completely understand his decision to retire, players and coaches alike are sorry to see him leave. Through the years, John has had a major impact on Utah football as a player, coach and longtime friend and advisor.”
Utah had the Pac-12’s second-best total defense in 2015, holding opponents to 366.8 yards per game (only Washington allowed fewer yards per game). the utes also allowed just 22.3 points per game in the 2015 season and held six opponents to fewer than 20 points, including Michigan, Arizona State and UCLA. That defense is now placed in the hands of Scalley, a former Utah player and former Mountain West Conference co-Defensive Player of the Year. Scalley joined the Utah program as an assistant coach in 2006 as an administrative assistant. After a season as a graduate assistant in 2007, he was awarded a full-time role on the staff in 2008.
“Morgan has played an ever increasing role in our overall defensive scheming the past few seasons and is ready to take the reigns as the defensive coordinator,” said Whittingham. “He is bright, innovative and hard working.”
Utah was not the only Pac-12 program to make an adjustment at defensive coordinator on Monday. Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich demoted Don Pellum from his defensive coordinator role down to linebackers coach as Erik Chinander left the position open to accept a defensive coordinator role at UCF. Oregon is now searching for a new coach to come in and serve as the defensive coordinator of the Ducks.