Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Notes on the Coach: Dave Aranda

Courtesy of The Baylor Lariat

With a background rooted in defense and a vast history of coaching knowledge, Baylor head coach Dave Aranda enters Saturday ready to defeat Texas one more time.

Though Aranda grew up in Kern County, California, the 46-year-old signal caller spent his early post-grad life in Texas, well before his time at Baylor. Aranda graduated from Texas Tech with a master’s degree in science and then went on to work as a linebacker coach at Houston. 15 years later, Aranda returned to the lone star state to coach the Baylor Bears.

Before taking over for Baylor on Jan. 16th, 2020, Aranda worked all over the country on the defensive side of the ball. He spent four years coaching the defensive line in Hawaii, eventually being promoted to defensive coordinator. 

Aranda’s big break came in 2012, when Utah State took a shot on the young defensive coordinator. Aranda spent his only year in Logan creating a top-10 defense in the nation, according to opponent points per game, leading their team to an 11–2 record and finishing ranked for the first time in 51 years.

A coordinator like that doesn’t go unnoticed, and Aranda took his chance when he was offered a spot as the defensive coordinator of Wisconsin in 2013. Aranda spent three years there under three different head coaches, with his crown jewel season coming in 2015, when the Wisconsin Badgers had the No. 1-ranked defense in opponent points per game in the nation. 

When he arrived at LSU, the consensus was that he would become a head coach soon after. But his time didn’t come for another five years. On the way, Aranda won a national championship in 2019, commanding the defense behind Joe Burrow’s Heisman run. Aranda was on the sidelines when LSU beat Texas in Darrel K Royal stadium in Week Two of that season.

Aranda already had Texas’ number when he accepted the Baylor job in 2020, looking to replace Matt Rhule, who built the program from 1–11 in his first season to becoming Sugar Bowl contenders in 2019. Despite the success of the 2019 season, Aranda started off cold. The Bears did not respond well to the shortened 2020 season, finishing 2–7.

What happened in 2021 may be the sole reason Aranda is still around in Waco in 2023. Aranda took the mold from 2019 and made it his own, taking Baylor back to the Sugar Bowl, this time winning it, and leading a top-10 defense in the nation. The Bears ended the season with a Big 12 Championship and missed out on the College Football Playoff by one spot in the final poll.

Since then, it’s been a rocky road for the defensive guru. Baylor has won just seven of their last 16 games, failing to capture the magic of the 2021 team. Aranda now stands at 21–18 in his career at Baylor, and with the Big 12 completely changing in 2024, all eyes are on his performance under the helm. 

As for Aranda as a coach, his defense works through multiple personnel that switch up schemes and look at every play. He uses many different players, but his star on the defense is TJ Franklin, a senior defensive end. Aranda does everything he can to allow Franklin to wreak  havoc, and with a banged up offensive line, Texas may be in for a test.

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About the Contributor
Evan Vieth, Senior Sports Reporter
Evan is a junior journalism major and the sports editor for the Texan. He is originally from Washington DC and has covered UT sports for 4 semesters and counting. He has covered the Men's Tennis, Soccer, Baseball and Football teams and had the opportunity to write about the 2023 Longhorns in the Sugar Bowl.