If Wisconsin defensive coordinator Dave Aranda leaves Madison to take a job with an NFL franchise, Badgers head coach Paul Chryst might be as surprised as everyone else.
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel‘s Bob McGinn reported Wednesday that Aranda interviewed for a position on the Green Bay Packers staff. The assumption is Aranda was up for the same position that was eventually given to former Oklahoma assistant Jerry Montgomery.
Since Aranda didn’t get become the Packers’ new defensive front coach, Chryst doesn’t see Aranda leaving the program any time soon.
Chryst even told the Journal-Sentinel’s Jeff Potrykus Friday that “Aranda wasn’t actively looking to leave UW”, and he fully expects him to be on the sidelines this fall.
The fact Aranda is expected to remain in Madison is very important for the Badgers. Last season, Wisconsin ranked fourth overall in total defense. And Chryst made sure Aranda was his first call upon becoming the Badgers’ new head coach.
“[Aranda] has helped build Wisconsin’s defense into one of the best in the country over the last two years and the numbers back that up,” the head coach said in a statement when Aranda’s hire became official. “He is able to identify the strengths of his players and play to those strengths, which I think is the mark of a good coach. When Dave expressed a great interest in staying, I was excited because I believe it is a great fit.”
Wisconsin Badgers defensive coordinator Dave Aranda will benefit from a job well done.
The Badgers finished fourth overall in total defense under Aranda’s supervision. However, the coordinator was left in limbo once Gary Andersen decided to leave Wisconsin to become the head coach of the Oregon State Beavers. Instead of bringing Aranda with him, Andersen decided to go in another direction by hiring Kalani Sitake away from the Utah Utes.
Aranda’s job didn’t go unnoticed, though. Incoming head coach Paul Chryst decided to retain Aranda as the Badgers’ defensive coordinator.
“Dave is the first person I spoke to when I got the job. I’m very impressed with his knowledge of defense and his ability to put together a game plan,” Chryst said in a statement released by the school. “He has helped build Wisconsin’s defense into one of the best in the country over the last two years and the numbers back that up. He is able to identify the strengths of his players and play to those strengths, which I think is the mark of a good coach. When Dave expressed a great interest in staying, I was excited because I believe it is a great fit.”
Chryst also brings his right-hand man, Joe Rudolph, with him as his offensive coordinator.
Rudolph previously served as Chryst’s offensive coordinator during their three seasons together with the Pitt Panthers. He built a relationship with Chryst when the two both served on Wisconsin’s offensive staff from 2008-11.
“I’ve worked with Joe for a number of years and have witnessed first-hand how good of a coach he is,” Chryst said. “He is very detailed oriented and has a terrific offensive mind. He preaches a tough, physical, smart brand of football that I believe is the foundation of the Wisconsin program. Being a graduate and having played and coached at UW, he truly knows what it means to be a Badger.”
Along with the coordinator hires, Chryst already zeroed in on a new secondary coach.
Jones served as Hawaii’s secondary coach from 2012-14. He also spent a season in the CFL with the Montreal Alouettes coaching their defensive backs.
Auburn wide receiver D’haquille Williams continues to be bothered by lingering injuries and illness.
The Outback Bowl is 13 days away, but Auburn’s leading receiver isn’t currently on track to play in the game.
When asked about whether Williams would definitely play against the Wisconsin Badgers, Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn wasn’t willing to commit one way or another.
“Not at this point,” Malzahn told Al.com’s Joel A. Erickson.
Williams missed two of Auburn’s final three games due to a sprained MCL and a bruised knee that he suffered Nov. 8 against the Texas A&M Aggies. The JUCO transfer returned for the Iron Bowl against the Alabama Crimson Tide and caught seven passes for 121 yards.
However, the talented wide receiver hasn’t been feeling well.
“He has not practiced,” Malzahn said. “He was sick and he’s got some treatment things to do from the last game.”
Despite missing those two games, Williams still leads the Tigers with 45 receptions for 730 yards. The 6-2, 216-pound receiver has proven to be the security blanket for quarterback Nick Marshall.
If Williams can’t play, the Badgers will roll coverage toward Auburn’s deep threat, Sammie Coates. The junior will be playing his last game as a member of the Tigers before he’s NFL bound.
While the signs point toward Pitt’s Paul Chryst becoming the next head coach at the University of Wisconsin, athletic director Barry Alvarez pumped the brakes on a move by mentioning his intention to interview more candidates.
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel‘s Jeff Potrykus reported late Thursday night that Chryst was set to become Wisconsin’s next head football coach after Gary Andersen abruptly left Madison in favor of coaching at Oregon State. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Chryst is prepared to accept the position if and when he’s officially offered the job.
Due to university policy, though, the hire of a state employee must be open to the public for at least five days. Applications for the position will be accepted until Wednesday, Dec. 17.
Until then, Alvarez is going to use the extra time wisely by vetting his options.
The athletic director didn’t divulge exactly who those candidates shall be, but there is still a slight possibility Chryst won’t be named the Badgers’ new head coach next Wednesday.
A hire will be made as soon as possible, according to the Wisconsin State Journal‘s Jason Galloway:
Chryst is still expected to be the Badgers’ head coach by Wednesday evening, but Alvarez is going to make sure he’s the absolutely perfect choice before making the hire.
UPDATE [9:50 ET]: One of the mystery candidates Alvarez mentioned earlier Friday has been revealed. The former head coach of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Greg Schiano, met with Alvarez Thursday, according to USA TODAY‘s George Schroeder.
Schiano only lasted two seasons in the NFL before Buccaneers brass decided the organization needed to go in another direction. But Schiano was the architect of a Rutgers program that went from the laughing stock of college football to the Big Ten program it is today.
While Chryst is still considered the favorite to be named Wisconsin’s head coach, Schiano is one of the more intriguing available coaches.
Despite a three-interception performance during a disappointing loss to the Northwestern Wildcats, Joel Stave is expected to be named Wisconsin’s starting quarterback for Sunday’s contest against the Illinois Fighting Illini.
Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen has yet to officially name his starting signal-caller for this weekend’s game, but the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel‘s Jeff Potrykus cited multiple sources which said Stave will take over duties behind center.
Stave will replace junior Tanner McEvoy, who started the first five games of the season. McEvoy is a top athlete at quarterback, but he hasn’t proven to be a consistent passer. The 6-6, 223-pound signal-caller already threw five interceptions this season and got off to an extremely slow start against Northwestern.
Wisconsin is one of the few teams in the nation with an experienced No. 2 option at quarterback. Stave played in all 13 games last season. The junior threw for 2,494 yards, 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions as the Badgers’ primary starter in 2013.
The change isn’t permanent, though.
The coaching staff already acknowledged a quarterback rotation will be used Saturday.
“It’s a real delicate balance,” Wisconsin offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig told Potrykus. “The most important thing is to stay within yourself and stay within the strength of the entire unit, not deviate to match one player or the other.
“You’re going to play the player with the hot hand. If the course of game, the course of the season dictates that, absolutely. We want to put our best players on the field.”