Dave Aranda is LSU’s third defensive coordinator in as many years.
As coach Les Miles examined all of the possible candidates to anchor his defense this winter, he tried not to limit his choices based on certain criteria.
Aranda isn’t an overly imposing coach. Nor does he boast any experience coaching in the SEC.
But the Tigers’ first-year defensive coordinator sports a unique approach to the job, one that has had a resounding impact on the players and those around him.
That was certainly noticeable this spring, which led Miles to rain praise on Aranda as LSU heads into the summer period.
“First of all, he’s very knowledgeable,” Miles said during the SEC football spring media teleconference on Thursday.
“He’s really a consummate teacher. He’s not a screamer or hollerer. He teaches you why and what you need to think and how you need to approach each play. You’ll find that our scheme has more to it than in the past. We’re really looking forward to what we’ve gotten started and as it would continue going into two-a-days.”
Aranda hails from Wisconsin, where he served in the same position from 2013-15.
Prior to that, he was the defensive coordinator of Utah State (2012), Hawaii (2010-11), with assistant coaching stints at Delta State, California Lutheran, Houston and Texas Tech over the past two decades.
Aranda has never coached in the Southeastern Conference, but guided Wisconsin to finish in the top five in the nation in four defensive categories, including scoring, total yards allowed, passing yards and rushing yards.
While he may have never coached in the SEC, Aranda’s body of work spoke for itself during the interview process.
“We really just looked for the quality of the defensive coordinator,” said Miles. “We interviewed Dave, and Dave was the best interview by far. We liked (Kevin) Steele. He knew the SEC and what to expect, which was a tremendous advantage that way. But when we lost Steele (to Auburn) we wanted to go and get the best, and we were fortunate to have Dave. He was being pursued by several job opportunities, and we’re fortunate to have him choose to be with the Tigers.”
Aranda is one of three new coaches on Miles’ staff, along with former Auburn wide receivers coach Dameyune Craig and former Texas Tech running backs coach Jabbar Juluke, who accepted the same positions at LSU.
However, Miles was quick to point out Aranda’s impact on the team this spring in how he has completely revamped the Tigers’ defense.
“Dave has had an immediate impact,” Miles said. “The defense is playing some 4-3 with 4-3 personnel, but we’ll also be a 3-4 as well. We’ll give opponents a bit of scheme issue that they’re going to have to prepare for. I like the defense. It looked very fast and (like) a very talented defense.”