Northwestern is debuting a new defensive coordinator in 2021 after the retirement of Mike Hankwitz.

Hankwitz is leaving the Wildcats after a run at Northwestern that started in 2008. He put up strong numbers while leading the defense and was a revered figure by head coach Pat Fitzgerald and many in the industry of college football.

Entering 2021, the defense will be lead by Jim O’Neil. He joined Fitzgerald’s Northwestern staff after spending 2019-2020 as the DBs coach of the Las Vegas Raiders.

On Thursday, Northwestern released a video with O’Neil sharing what he expects out of his defenses with the Wildcats:

“I think you’ll see old-school fundamentals with cutting edge schemes,” said O’Neil. “When you talk about player attributes, we talk about being relentless, accountable, and productive.”

He went on to say that the key is simply guys making plays when they come their way:

“When a play comes your way, you’ve got to make it,” explained O’Neil. “We’re not going to chase plays, but guys are going to make plays.”

Needless to say, it sounds like the tough-nosed, elite Wildcat defenses we’ve come to know and love. Hopefully they produce on the field this season.