After one year away from the game, Brady Hoke is back. Hoke was named the defensive coordinator at Oregon on Saturday, filling a void left open by some internal coaching staff shuffling by Mark Helfrich following the bowl season. This marks Hoke’s return to the Pac-12. He had previously been an assistant at Oregon State from 1989 through 1994.
“We are extremely excited to welcome Coach Hoke to the Oregon family,” Helfrich said. “He’s passionate, knowledgeable and tough, and has an outstanding track record of success from a defensive standpoint.”
Hoke will be tasked with turning around one of the nation’s worst defenses, which should make for a good situation for the former Michigan head coach. After his job in Ann Arbor went up in flames as a head coach in 2014, a reduced role on a coaching staff should allow for Hoke to focus on what his strengths are. Hoke has always been recognized as a defensive-minded coach, and now without the labors that come with being a head coach, Hoke should be able to experience a revitalized coaching career.
Oregon ranked 117th in total defense in 2015, and that was put on display in a second-half meltdown against TCU in the Alamo Bowl this bowl season. Oregon blew a 31-point lead in the second half and lost to the Horned Frogs, playing with a backup quarterback. Days after the meltdown, Helfrich downgraded defensive coordinator Don Pellum to linebackers coach, opening up a spot on his staff at the coordinator position.