Countdown To Kickoff - 23 Days: Utah State Defense Looking To Attack And Create Turnovers Under New Coordinator Dave Aranda
Aranda comes to USU after spending the past four years at Hawai`i.
Aug. 7, 2012
LOGAN, Utah -
By Megan Allen, USU Athletic Media Relations
Dave Aranda (pronounced a-ran-da) is in his first year as defensive coordinator at Utah State, but he is no stranger to the position or the Western Athletic Conference. Prior to joining the Aggie staff in January of 2012, Aranda spent the previous four seasons at the University of Hawai`i, including the final two as the team's defensive coordinator.
During the 2011 season at Hawai`i, Aranda's defense led the WAC and was tied for 15th in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) in sacks with 35 (2.7 spg). In 2010, Aranda's Hawai`i defense led the nation in turnovers caused (38), while ranking second in the nation in interceptions (23) and ninth in fumbles recovered (15), as well as tying the school record for most defensive touchdowns with five.
With just over three weeks until Utah State kicks off the 2012 season at home against Southern Utah on Aug. 30, Aranda spent a few minutes talking about the upcoming season and what Aggie fans can expect from the USU defense this fall.
How have the first few months on the job been for you?
"It's been great. It's been a great staff. I have a lot of respect for Coach Andersen and the other coaches here. I've learned a lot. My family is settled in. We're living in Hyde Park, and everyone has great friends. My daughters and my little boy are always playing with the next door neighbors, and my wife has a good group as well. It's a good setup."
Talk about your relationship with Coach Andersen and how his background as a defensive coordinator will help you?
"I'll be able to learn a lot, and I have learned a lot since I've been here. Football is football and defense is defense. Everyone has as style they prefer, and I've come with my style. Coach Andersen has a great style as well, and I think we've meshed those well. So far, so good."
What is your defensive philosophy going to be at Utah State?
What can Aggie fans expect from a Dave Aranda coached defense?
"To attack. To get the ball out. One of our main emphases is going to be to create takeaways. Two days into camp, we've had success there. The bottom line is to prevent points and to get the ball back to the offense. The quickest and most efficient ways we can do that; let's do it."
"A defense that plays physical. A defense that plays with great effort, and a defense that attacks."
What have you learned about Utah State's defense and its defensive players during your short time here?
"They're dedicated, they're smart, they're tough. Football means a lot to them. They sacrifice a bunch to be a part of this team and to represent Utah State, and I'm proud to be a part of that."
As we start camp, is there an area defensively that jumps out at you?
"I think we've all improved. We've got a lot of talent in the secondary; and they're performing well. We've got some new faces in the linebacker group, and they're learning the defense and getting better every day. We've got some young cats on the defensive line as well and they're getting valuable reps. They're going to add to our depth. We've got some returners and experience in our safeties, and they're playing well too."
You were a defensive coordinator in the WAC at Hawai'i before coming to Utah State. What are the challenges defensively when playing other WAC schools?
"We're going to see every type of offense. An offense will either bring it in to maximize their numbers and force the issue, or they'll spread it out to maximize the space of the field. You have to be able to adjust weekly to those offenses."
Utah State is entering its second year in a 3-4 defense. What are the advantages of that defense and why does it fit well with Utah State?
"I think it fits well with our defensive lineman. We've got guys who can hunker down and be a point guy. We've also got linebackers that can scrape and get over the top. We've got outside linebackers like Bojay (Filimoeatu) that can rush the passer. The advantage of the 3-4 is that you don't know where the fourth or the fifth rusher is coming from. It's hard to identify a rush pattern. The more that we can do to complicate the rush pattern in offensive eyes, the better. The easier it is for us, the harder it is for them."
Defensively, are there goals or percentages that you are looking toward on a game-by-game basis?
"Our main goal is to solidify our run defense. We're a gap-controlled defense. Every man on our defense has a gap that they need to be able to play and be responsible for. We have to be able to create takeaways. There is an attitude and a belief, and there's a technique to it as well. And then we need to get off the field on third down."