Especially defensively, Mario Cristobal‘s first coaching staff at Oregon will have a decidedly familiar feel to it.
Sunday night, reports surfaced that Jim Leavitt would not be following Willie Taggart to Florida State and would instead remain at UO as Cristobal’s defensive coordinator — on a revamped deal that averages a cool $1.7 million annually and extends out through the 2021 season. Monday night, the Ducks not only confirmed Levitt’s retention but that two other Taggart assistants would be staying on as well.
Joe Salave’a served as UO’s defensive line coach in 2017 as well as holding the title of associate head coach, while Marcus Arroyo spent 2017 as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Salave’a and Arroyo will return in the same positions in 2018.
Both of those assistants received contract extensions that will run through the 2020 season as well. Financial terms were not divulged, although it’s believed that each will receive a raise as well.
“We are thrilled we were able extend Jim, Marcus and Joe’s contracts,” Cristobal said in a statement. “All three have been impactful in establishing the direction of our program as both teachers and mentors for our players. They have been key in helping build our momentum, both on the field and in recruiting.
“Jim led an amazing turnaround on the defensive side of the ball that saw great improvement in all area of the defense. Joe’s defensive line was a big part of that improvement thanks to his ability to make players better. Under his tutelage, the defensive line led an attack that allowed 118 fewer rushing yards per game than in 2016 while accounting for 63 more tackles for loss and eight more sacks.
“Marcus’ work on offense, and in particular with Justin Herbert, were critical to the offense’s success. Despite Justin’s absence for five games, we finished in the top 20 in scoring overall while averaging nearly 50 points when at full strength.”