Arizona defensive coordinator Johnny Nansen leaves for Texas

Jan 6, 2024, 12:55 PM

Johnny Nansen...

Instead of leading Arizona into the Big 12, defensive coordinator Johnny Nansen will help lead Texas into the SEC. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

Arizona defensive coordinator Johnny Nansen is leaving to become the co-defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach at Texas, according to reports by 247Sports.

Nansen will replace Jeff Choate, who left Texas for the head coaching job at Nevada.

Texas is coming off a close loss to Washington in the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Sugar Bowl, and they’re about to leave the Big 12 for the SEC.

Nansen served under Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian at Washington from 2009-13 and USC from 2014-15. He also coached with his new co-defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski while at Montana State in 2000.

“I can’t believe he’s not one of the 15 semifinalists for the Broyles Award of the best assistant coach of the year. I don’t know if anybody statistically has made nearly the jump that he made,” Arizona head coach Jedd Fisch said of Nansen. “I’m not exactly sure how that happened.

“In my mind, it was a situation where he has done just a fantastic job of getting our defense better every single week.” Fisch then gave additional credit to the rest of the defensive staff, where Fisch may pull from to replace Nansen.

Nansen was in Tucson for the past two years, and the growth he’s overseen was substantial.

– 2022: 36.5 points and 467.7 yards allowed per game. Both ranked 11th in the Pac-12.

– 2023: 21.1 points and 357.9 yards allowed per game. Both were fifth in the Pac-12.

Although Texas led the Big 12 in both areas this season, the SEC is a different animal, especially defensively.

The Longhorns’ 2023 marks of 18.9 points and 336.7 yards would rank second and sixth respectively in the SEC.

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