Cal apparently is using a version of “Trading Places” to replace departed co-defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter.
Earlier this month Bears co-defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter left Cal to become the defensive coordinator at Oregon.
On Monday, ESPN reported that Cal is hiring Oregon co-defensive coordinator Keith Heyward to be a co-defensive coordinator for the Bears.
Presumably that means that Peter Sirmon will remain Cal’s defensive coordinator, as he was this past season, with Heyward filling the slightly subordinate role that DeRuyter occupied with the Bears in 2020.
DeRuyter will be the primary defensive coordinator at Oregon, filling the role Andy Avalos had before leaving to become the head coach at Boise State.
Heyward signaled his departure from Oregon in a Twitter message:
Heyward spent the past four years at Oregon, where he coached the Ducks’ safeties. He also has a reputation as a recruiter, being responsible for attracting defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux and safety Jevon Holland to Oregon.
It’s unclear which position group Heyward will coach at Cal.
Marcel Yates coached defensive backs for Cal this past season, but its possible his role will be limited to coaching cornerbacks in 2021 while Heyward focuses on safeties.
It’s also possible that Yates will coach outside linebackers, the group that DeRuyter coached at Cal. Yates coached linebackers at Arizona in 2016 and 2018.
Heyward worked at both USC and Washington with Cal coach Justin Wilcox and defensive coordinator Peter Sirmon. Heyward coached defensive backs during his two years at USC and also during his two seasons at Washington.
Heyward is a graduate of Oregon State.
Cover photo of Keith Heyward (far right) by Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports
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