Why LSU Was Eager To Hire Dave Aranda


Unlike last years coaching search that went on for weeks and involved multiple interviews; LSU head coach Les Miles targeted his man, went after him and got him in short order.

This is the second year in a row Miles wanted to hire Aranda, according to multiple reports. The same contractual issues that led Coach John Chavis to walk out at LSU led Aranda to back off last year.

With AD Joe Alleva more willing to compromise this year, the negotiation went quickly. That isn’t to say everything went smoothly from square one.

In spite of Dave Aranda’s popularity on social media rumor mills, we left him off our list of the top five candidates for the job last week.

At the time that article was written, Aranda was still a candidate for the USC job. He is from California and made no secret of his desire to return home. When the USC offer went to Clancy Pendergast, Aranda was suddenly available and was suddenly hired by LSU within a day.

Aranda’s rise up the coaching ranks has been nearly as quick as his shot to the top of the LSU coaching search list.

Photo courtesy of the University of Wisconsin

He was coaching at Utah State four years ago, and at Hawaii a year before that. He was coaching at Delta State as recently as 2007. Not the typical Les Miles prototype of highly experienced coach with SEC or NFL credentials.

Aranda rose to national prominence very quickly by developing very average athletes into very productive football players. He then placed those players in an extremely aggressive attacking scheme that regularly shut down opponents.

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Aranda loves to attack the ball, play aggressive man coverage schemes, blitz from every angle, and gang tackle the ball carrier. Sound familiar?

Aranda’s defenses at Wisconsin looked in some ways like John Chavis defenses at LSU, only without much legit talent. Take All American LB Joe Schobert, for example.

Schobert is Wisconsin’s biggest star. He racked up 9.5 sacks for Wisconsin this year. As a senior in high school, he was a no-stars recruit and listed as the number #1,850 player in the country by 247Sports. They only had him as the fifth best player in Waukesha,Wisconsin.

Under Aranda, Schobert thrived.

Aranda likes smart aggressive players who run to the ball, and win one-on-one pass rush battles. He schemes to get players into those one-on-one situations so they can make plays.

Here is Schobert in one of his best games of the season against Iowa. He is usually lined up in the same edge position on the left side currently occupied at LSU by Lewis Neal.

This highlight of a sack by Vince Biegel shows the way Aranda schemes to open a player up. Biegel lines up on the right side, and a stunt just inside of him draws attention from the interior blockers leaving him one on one with the tackle.

Because the stunt is to the inside, Biegel doesn’t have a run gap responsibility inside and can just sprint straight to the QB.

Here is another great example of Aranda scheming his blitzer open. Wisconsin LB Jake Clichy got three sacks on three straight plays against USC in the Holiday Bowl.

The thing that stands out is the way Aranda has his interior defensive lineman push out opening a lane for Clichy to run through on each play. The offensive linemen are drawn like magnets to the defensive linemen on all three plays, leaving the LB in a one on one situation with the running back.

Scheme to get the blitzer in a one-on-one situation. The blitzer wins the one-on-one, a sack results all three times.

At LSU where aggressive attacking defenses are expected and Big Cat Drills are a way of life Aranda will feel right at home.

LSU fans can look forward to a return to a defense that takes full advantage of shutdown corners; to use the front seven to attack on every single down.

Defense will be “back” for the LSU football program, in 2016…….