Disch, Mallory to replace Okruch

Illinois football coach Ron Zook promoted to of his top assistants Thursday to the position of co-defensive coordinator. Linebackers coach Dan Disch and secondary coach Curt Mallory will share the position formerly held by Vince Okruch, who has asked to take a personal leave of absence.

Zook's decision came after long conversations with Okruch, athletic director Ron Guenther and his two key assistant coaches.

"We need to make sure we could oblige Vince's request," Zook said. "We appreciate his leadership last year with our defense. And with that being the case, I'm very excited about Dan and Curt taking over. These two guys have been with us since we got here, they know this defense as well as anyone. They are the ones who help teach the defense to other coaches and players. They've earned this."

Zook also said he will be very involved in the defense as well, as he has been in the past. Disch and Mallory will make the defensive calls, but with input from Zook.

"I've been involved all along and will be this year, too," Zook said. "But I assure you, I have great confidence in these two guys."

No determination has been made regarding how long Okruch will be gone and how he will be replaced on the staff if it is for an extended period of time.

"Right now, we need to be supportive of Vince's needs and, at the same time, make sure our football team doesn't take a step back," Zook said. "With this decision, I am very confident we will. We'll deal with the other issues sooner rather than later, but I need time to decide what we will do there."

Zook and his family will be vacationing for a week in the Ozarks beginning Friday.

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