TCU hires ex-Boise State coach Andy Avalos as defensive coordinator to turn around struggling unit

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TCU has hired Andy Avalos as its defensive coordinator. Avalos’ hiring comes a month after he was fired as Boise State coach amid his third season despite a 22-14 overall record with the program. The Broncos went on to win the Mountain West championship weeks after his departure. 

Avalos, 42, previously served as defensive coordinator at Oregon from 2019-20, where he helped the Ducks capture back-to-back Pac-12 championships under former coach Mario Cristobal. He also had a previous stint at Boise State from 2012-18 in which he held a variety of assistant roles for the Broncos, including linebackers coach and defensive coordinator. Prior to his coaching career, Avalos attended Boise State and played linebacker for the Broncos from 2001-04. 

TCU’s addition of Avalos comes a day after the Horned Frogs parted ways with Joe Gillespie after two seasons. TCU ended the 2023 season, their second season under coach Sonny Dykes, a disappointing 5-7 after orchestrating an improbable run to the College Football Playoff National Championship in 2022. The Frogs surrendered a season-high 69 points in their season finale, a loss at Oklahoma

TCU struggled to field consistency in all phases of the game this past season. The Frogs’ defense, with its 3-3-5 scheme under Gillespie, was no exception. There were already question marks after the defensive showings in last year’s College Football Playoff — TCU allowed 110 points combined to Michigan and Georgia — and concerns weren’t quieted when Colorado passed for more than 500 yards against TCU during the Buffaloes’ 45-42 Week 1 victory against the Frogs. TCU ultimately ended the season averaging 408.3 yards and 27.83 points allowed per contest, marks that ranked 100th and 78th at the FBS level, respectively. 

TCU will now be banking on Avalos to orchestrate a similar defensive turnaround to that which he oversaw upon arrival to Oregon as defensive coordinator in 2019. The Ducks boasted the No. 9 scoring defense in the country during Avalos’ first year as defensive coordinator, holding opponents to 16.5 points on average after surrendering 27 points per game the year prior. Oregon also led the Pac-12 in sacks during both seasons in which Avalos was at the defensive helm. 

More defensive success came for Avalos as Boise State coach, peaking during the 2022 season. The Broncos defense finished in the top 15 nationally both overall and in scoring, holding opponents to 281.5 yards and 18.5 points per game on average as Boise State finished as the Mountain West runner-up. The unit took a step back in 2023, averaging 375.5 yards and 24.8 points allowed, though it didn’t keep the Broncos from winning a league title, prompting Spencer Danielson to have the interim tag removed from his title as Avalos’ full-time replacement. 

Avalos’ first game with TCU will come on the West Coast for the California native as the Frogs open the 2024 season at Stanford

 

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