Dave Aranda believes that the BYU Cougars will be a “great fit” for the revamped Big 12 Conference, in advance of Baylor’s game with the Cougars on Saturday.
Aranda, Baylor’s second-year head coach, and his Bears will host the Cougars at McLane Stadium, a game scheduled long before the Big 12 announced in September that BYU, along with Cincinnati, Houston and UCF, would join the Big 12.
So, Saturday’s game serves as a prelude to what could be a yearly game between the two programs, depending upon how the Big 12 chooses to organize the new conference.
Aranda has great respect for the program, and for good reason. The Cougars seem to be following him around.
“The long view of it is I think they’re going to be a great fit,” Aranda said. “Their physicality, the things they can do. I played BYU when I was at Hawaii. It was the last game I had at Hawaii, I think we were fired shortly thereafter. Then I went to Utah State and played them. Then I went to Wisconsin and we played them. When I was at LSU, we played them. There’s a lot of respect for BYU for their physicality, for their maturity, for their toughness. There’s a lot of athleticism there, but they’re also very much the gym-rat. They’ve been able to pull out wins all different types of ways. When I was at Hawaii and at Utah State, I felt that very much within the coaching circles I was in at that time. Since that time I’ve had a ton of respect for them. And now, knowing their coaches and the direction that they’re headed, and what Kalani (Sitake) has been able to grow there, there’s a lot of respect and it’s going to be a good matchup.”
Aranda referenced his previous stops as an assistant coach. He was a defensive line coach and a defensive coordinator at Hawaii from 2008-11. Then, he landed at Utah State to run the Aggies’ defense for one season in 2012, after which he moved to Wisconsin for three seasons to serve as the defensive coordinator. Then, in 2016, he joined LSU where he eventually became the assistant coach and defensive coordinator, helping the Tigers to a national title in 2019. He took the Baylor job shortly thereafter.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.
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