Baylor Bears

Dave Aranda ‘Pissed Off’ Entering Final Portion of a Pivotal Spring

NCAA Football: Baylor at Cincinnati

Since taking over the Baylor program ahead of the 2020 season, Dave Aranda has had quite the up-and-down tenure in Waco (Tex.).

During the COVID-19 season, Aranda’s group went 2-7, but appeared to have some promising moments. In 2021, those promising moments grew into something much bigger as the Bears finished up the year at 12-2 as Big 12 and Sugar Bowl Champions.

From then on, the expectations for Aranda’s group have been elevated. However, he’s never been able to get Baylor back to that level of play, going 9-16 overall and 6-12 in Big 12 play since then.

 

Heading into 2024, the pressure is on as Aranda has made some staff changes and addressed several issues on the roster, leaving little to no excuse for not having success in Aranda’s fifth season.

He’s also gone back to his roots, being more hands-on with the defensive playcalling, and folks in Waco feel that can make a big difference in a pivotal year. The Baylor head coach was asked about how a more hands-on approach has gone to this point, and his answer grabbed some headlines.

 “That’s a hard question to answer. I feel pissed off a whole lot more. I don’t know if I’m supposed to say that,” Aranda told media. “But I feel like I got mad more than I normally would. So, I think the intensity of everything is way risen up. I think to win games on defense, it’s got to be fourth-and-one every day. To try to be more that fourth-and-one attitude and you’re bringing people together at the same time, there’s a trick to that. So, we’re trying our best to work that trick. But I know that everybody feels the urgency and the intensity, and it’s got to start with us as coaches.”

 

There’s been a jarring change from Aranda and the coaching staff this season, as the “vibe” and “energy” have been much different this spring. In answering a question on that topic, Aranda used Dr. Strange

“It started at the very beginning, talking about ball and talking about brotherhood, and talking about battles,” Aranda said. “For ball to be important, you have to invest time. It’s interesting; there’s a Marvel movie, Dr. Strange, with all the different portals and levels. That’s football. You can go way way deep if you choose to go. Or you could keep it shallow and kind of ride luck and happenstance and all the other things. To go down to all the levels is to understand the game.

“Why are they in this formation? Why is this particular player is put in this position? Why is this play called in this particular down and distance? What is the strength and vulnerability of this defensive front? What happened in the first drive is going to beg and borrow what is going to happen in the third drive. I think all of those things are important things. Those happen when you go down to all the levels. I feel that are guys are that way or starting to be that way, and it needs to be that way. Because games are won and lost in those fine margins.”

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