EUGENE — It appears Oregon's tradition of promoting from within will continue.
According to multiple reports, Mark Helfrich will name longtime linebackers coach Don Pellum as the Ducks' new defensive coordinator, replacing the retired Nick Aliotti.
Oregon247sports and The Oregonian were the first to report Pellum's ascension in the program.
Oregon sources confirmed to The Register-Guard that Helfrich is expected to announce Pellum as Aliotti's successor next week.
Athletic department officials said they cannot officially comment until the hiring process is complete. Players said they were not informed of the move by the coaching staff but would embrace Pellum as the defensive coordinator.
"We're excited. Coach Pellum is a good guy," a prominent defensive player told The Register-Guard. "It's a good move."
Pellum played for the Ducks from 1982-84, graduated from Oregon and started his coaching career as a graduate assistant under Rich Brooks.
Over a 22-year career as an assistant, Pellum has coached the defensive line, safeties, linebackers and served as a recruiting coordinator.
Aliotti announced that the 2013 season, his 24th at Oregon, would be his last before the Ducks' 30-7 victory over Texas in the Alamo Bowl.
Oregon secondary coach John Neal was also an internal candidate to be defensive coordinator. Last week all-American cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu said Neal's presence on the staff was a major factor in his decision for return for his senior season instead of leaving for the NFL draft.
"I think it will be a little different. At the same time, it might be for the best. You never know," Ekpre-Olomu said of the transition at defensive coordinator. "Coach Aliotti was a great coach, but we have a lot of coaches here that are just as good, and I think they learned a lot from him."
The Oregonian reported Erik Chinander, an assistant defensive line coach for the Philadelphia Eagles under former Oregon coach Chip Kelly, will be the new linebackers coach. The Iowa graduate was a defensive intern and graduate assist with the Ducks the previous three years.
Oregon finished Aliotti's 17th and final season as defensive coordinator ranked second in the Pac-12 in scoring defense (20.5 ppg) and third in total defense (370.1 ypg).
This past season Pellum had to replace linebackers Michael Clay, the team's leading tackler in 2012, and Kiko Alonso, a rookie sensation with the Buffalo Bills. Derrick Malone stepped in and helped fill the void by leading the Ducks with 105 tackles.
Oregon's defense will lose some key leaders and productive starters, including defensive line standouts Taylor Hart and Wade Keliikipi and three members of the secondary, with junior cornerback Terrance Mitchell leaving early for the NFL draft and senior safeties Brian Jackson and Avery Patterson out of eligibility.
Helfrich was promoted from offensive coordinator to head coach, as were Kelly and Mike Bellotti before him.