Dave Aranda to go from being LSU’s defensive coordinator to the new Baylor head coach. Get ready for him to be the next coaching star.
Daily Cavalcade: Baylor Got A Star In Dave Aranda
This was a way overdue hire for someone, and Baylor got him.
Matt Rhule did wonders with the Baylor program to take it from the dregs to the Big 12 Championship game and an overtime away from being in the College Football Playoff, but he also always had one foot out the door for the NFL.
Rhule didn’t take the New York Jets gig last year, and then the Carolina Panthers provided 60 million reasons to become its new head coach.
With the college football coaching carousel slowing down, the available rising star candidates were starting to dwindle, especially for a place like Baylor.
For all of the success – let’s just push aside the past issues for the moment – this is still a small school that’s trying to battle with the Oklahomas and Texases of the Big 12, not to mention fighting for the right talents to slip through the TCU, Texas Tech, and SMU cracks.
Baylor needs 1) a great scheme – like Art Briles brought, and/or 2) a superior coaching talent. For all the problems, Briles was a very good on-field football coach. Rhule, again, was an NFL coach hanging out in college, and Dave Aranda is one of the most respected and talented defensive coaching minds in college football.
The 43-year-old worked his way up through the coaching system, grew into a star handling the Utah State defense under Gary Andersen, and then took over the same gig at Wisconsin once Andersen moved to Madison.
He was ready to become a head coach years ago, but he took on a bigger overall role at LSU, became paid like a lower-level college head coach – and the highest paid college assistant – and was a massive player in the recruiting of what turned out to be one of the greatest national championship seasons in the history of college football.
This means that LSU in the last day lost seven players early to the NFL, passing coordinator Joe Brady to work under Rhule at Carolina, and now, it lost its star defensive coordinator.
Aranda gets to take what Rhule was able to build up and keep it all going, if not make it even stronger.
Baylor finished third in the Big 12 in total defense, was one of the best teams in the country at getting into the backfield and to the quarterback, and the D was a terror at taking the ball away.
Aranda loses defensive stars James Lynch from the line and Grayland Arnold from the secondary – they’re leaving early for the NFL – and only two starters are back on D, but eight starters are expected back on offense, and there’s young talent in place ready to show what they can do on the other side of the ball.
Is he a rental head coach? Maybe, but the school would be more than happy if Aranda really is the coach who was wanted by (insert just about every and any open Power Five school looking for a new coach here) and is just that good.
Of course, you never know how things are going to work out – Will Muschamp was supposed to be a special head man after spending years as the hot defensive coordinator – but LSU lost a huge piece of its puzzle, and Baylor was able to pick him up.
Get ready to deal with a devastating defense, Big 12.