Oregon defensive coordinator Don Pellum answers media questions following Oregon's 31-28 loss to Michigan State.

Oregon defensive coordinator Don Pellum answers media questions following the Ducks' 31-28 loss to Michigan State at Spartan Stadium on Sept. 12, 2015. The Ducks fell behind early after giving up several long runs.

Don Pellum saw improvement on Saturday night. Yes, the Ducks may have lost, but after getting rather exposed last week against Eastern Washington the second year defensive coordinator talked with eDuck about the steps taken in the right direction by his players.

“Overall I think the tackling was better,” he said. “I know the communication was better and so I think overall it was better. Now, we need to be even better, which we will be, but we took a big step in the right direction.”

Still, Oregon had trouble getting to Connor Cook, who was given time to make several key throws that helped the Spartans gain the upper hand continually on the Ducks. Pellum acknowledged that when he watched the film he’d know more about where the breakdowns occurred, but also praised Cook’s ability as a passer.

“I know he’s a tremendous player and they have tremendous athletes around him and he made some plays,” he said.

The Ducks have a matchup against Georgia State next week, which will provide them with another opportunity at improvement. As the season progresses, Pellum said they’ll be certain things that he’ll keying in on specifically to try and get his unit to another level.

“We’re going to be talking about leveraging, tackling and communicating forever because that’s the key,” he said. “You want to have a great defense? You watch guys that leverage the ball, guys that tackle the ball and guys that communicate. And that’s what we’ve got to continue to evolve.”

(Video and text by Robby Boydstun)

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