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Dave Aranda: Selected Sunday Readings

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As we all hopefully know by now, Dave Aranda is Baylor’s new head football coach. Of course I was at work when the announcement was made and then was promptly knocked on my butt with a cold, so now that I have enough energy to sit at my desk instead of the couch I figured that I should actually contribute something.

Baylor and Aranda have yet to make any announcements as far as coordinator decisions. Once those two critical decisions are made I will do something more thorough on the new (or not, if Baylor chooses to keep Nixon as OC, which I’d be fine with) schemes.

For now, I’ve collected some readings on Aranda that I’ve found insightful and elucidating. Here they are:

- Aranda was at Wisconsin from 2013 to 2015 where he produced defenses ranked 11th, 15th, and 4th in defensive SP+. This article was written after the 2014 season and dives into how the Wisconsin defense was embarrassed by Ohio State but redeemed itself in the Outback Bowl against Auburn. It also serves as a primer for what makes Aranda such a good coach: he adjusts his defenses yearly depending on what types of players he has.

- Chris B. Brown is sort of the godfather of “I have a real job, but a major side-hustle in learning about football” that is so common nowadays. This article is from when Aranda was hired at LSU after 3 years at Wisconsin, and is rather heady and will likely leading to you looking up a variety of terms you’ve never heard before. Basically, if you can’t understand anything that goes on, the gist is that Aranda relies on his expert teaching to come up with difficult to implement solutions to what offenses present you.

- “One way Aranda keeps his defense simple but reactive is by giving his linebackers several reads on each play that can evolve both pre- and post-snap that nevertheless are only based on a few key looks for the players. In a private whiteboard session he told some high school coaches that when teaching a defense a rival school’s coaches (I won’t name names) might might draw up 75 different looks for their players, but for his there’s only three looks.”

- I don’t have a subscription to the athletic, but I’ve heard they’re terrific. If you’re willing to fork over some cash you can read these apparent gems.

- For being through the school’s official website, this is a remarkably elucidating podcast. This is 30 minutes of dense content. The stuff pertaining to his current players obviously isn’t very relevant, but you get to learn a bunch about Aranda’s philosophy. Again, Aranda emphasizes that the strengths of the players dictates the scheme he will use.

- Ian’s primary focus is Big 12 football and he tends to have a great nose for the state of programs and where their strengths and weaknesses lie. He correctly notes that Baylor arguably has the third most available resources (facilities, money for coaches, etc.) in the Big 12. He discusses how LSU’s title winning defenses likely won’t immediately translate to Baylor and how he’ll have to adjust to the Big 12.

- This video was embedded in the article by Chris B. Brown. In it Aranda highlights his pass rush strategy which is relatively simple but requires expert coaching to create: get your best pass rushers against their worst pass protectors.