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5 Takeaways From Derrick Ansley's Media Availability


The Bolts have a new defensive coordinator, as the team announced Monday that they have elevated Derrick Ansley to that role.

Ansley, who spent the past two seasons as the Chargers secondary coach, held a media availability earlier this week.

Here are five takeaways from Ansley's media availability:

1. He's fired up for the move

Most people are excited when they get a promotion.

Ansley's enthusiasm was on a whole different level earlier this week.

"I don't think words can describe how I feel about this opportunity," Ansley said. "You guys know how I feel about [Chargers Head] Coach [Brandon] Staley, our relationship goes way back. 

"I'm thankful to the organization – the Spanos Family, [Chargers General Manager] Tom [Telesco], Brandon – for believing in me and giving me this opportunity to lead the defensive unit this year, in 2023, and beyond," Ansley added.

The 41-year-old Ansley is known for his passion and commitment, and that was on full display earlier this week.

2. In alignment with Staley

It's no secret that Staley is a defensive-minded head coach, one who also calls the plays on that side of the ball.

But that doesn't mean Ansley's role is minimized. In fact, Ansley's voice and leadership will be crucial as he helps get everyone aligned with Staley's vision for the defense.

"The first thing is to be an extension of Coach Staley, be a support staff for him," Ansley said. "Making sure that whatever he needs on a day-to-day basis, a weekly basis, on gameday, post-gameday, to make sure that he can do his job at a high level and be another set of eyes to support him and his vision of the defense through the way that we see it, just be an extra set our hands.

"Also, coach our guys, like we've been doing," Ansley added. "Nothing will change in the identification factor of the players, coaching them and developing them like we've been for the first two years."

3. Players support him

Speaking of the player, a big name gave Ansley a special shoutout on Twitter after his promotion was announced.

Ansley noted that James' leadership and play is vital to the defense, and that it was special to get recognition from a team captain.

"He definitely is the leader. He's the heartbeat of our defense, of our secondary, even our team," Ansley said. "He's the mentality that walks around the building, always in an upbeat spirit. For him to sign-off on that, it's a testament to our relationship.

"We've had a great relationship since Day 1. I've known him for a while, going back to college. He's been the same guy every single day," Ansley added. "That brought some excitement to me, seeing him do that."

4. Working with Donatell

Ansley's elevation led to other movement on staff, as his former role was filled by Tommy Donatell. 

Now the Passing Game Coordinator/Secondary coach, Donatell was the assistant secondary coach under Ansley for the past two seasons.

"Well-deserved. Tommy is sharp. He's a guy whose arrow is on the up rise," Ansley said. "He's very professional, very knowledgeable on the backend and the front. This promotion was warranted.

"We all know what we have in him, the organization knows what they have in him," Ansley added. "It's awesome to see a guy work his way up through the organization and get an opportunity to be successful."

The secondary flourished under Ansley and Donatell in 2021, as the Bolts ranked seventh in the league with just 200.4 passing yards allowed per game.

5. Ready to impact the entire defense

Ansley has been a coordinator before at the college level, as he was the University of Tennessee's defensive coordinator & defensive backs coach in 2019 and 2020.

And he knows that the focus is now on impacting the entire defense, not just his position group.

Ansley said he's hand a hand in that over the past two years but is ready to take it to another level.

"football is all about relationships – player-to-coach, coach-to-player. Players just want you to be real with them, no matter if that's at the college level or the pro game," Ansley said. "Give them the information that they need to be successful. 

He later added:

"That's one thing that Coach Staley preaches, that he wants coaches to touch the whole team. As position coaches, we coach special teams guys, as well, with [Chargers Special Teams Coordinator] Coach [Ryan] Ficken, in some aspects of our roles. Those things won't change, our relationships with all of those guys. If anything, they're intensified moving forward."

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