Utah State coach Gary Andersen is now Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen. During his introductory press conference on Friday, Andersen also confirmed what many thought would be the case when reports surfaced earlier this week that he would be moving from Logan to Madison: that Utah State defensive coordinator Dave Aranda would be Wisconsin defensive coordinator Dave Aranda.
The news itself can’t come as much of a surprise, but it’s great news for Wisconsin nonetheless. Aranda just completed his first season as the Aggies’ DC and the impact was noticeable. USU’s defense ranked in the top 25 in yards-per-game and rushing yards allowed, and ranked in the top 10 in touchdowns allowed and points-per-game.
Those numbers are all nice improvements from one year ago and anyone watching the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl last Saturday got a glimpse of Aranda’s work. Utah State held Toledo, which has averaged 31 points per game this year, to just 15 points and one touchdown.
Aranda, a Broyles Award nominee for top assistant coach, was connected to the defensive coordinator job at Cal under new coach Sonny Dykes. Interestingly enough, Dykes ended up hiring Wisconsin linebackers coach Andy Buh.
Aranda is a fast riser in the coaching ranks and could be a head coach before too long. For now, he’s following Andersen to Wisconsin in what is easily one of the first “wins” for the program under its new head coach.
Up next? Who coaches the offense.
(Photo credit: USU athletics)