Coaching staff changes are common place in college football, as the carousel seemingly goes around the Badgers and others on an annual basis. This time around it is a key component to the success that Wisconsin’s defense has had the last three years — Dave Aranda — who took the defensive coordinator position with LSU.
However, it appears the Badgers were not caught offguard with this move, as there have been questions and answers about where Aranda stood for the past month or so. That said, who would be some of the names high up on Wisconsin’s wish list to replace Aranda?
Let’s take a look at five coaches Chryst would be wise to give a look see (NOTE: These aren’t names expected to interview, but ones we believe are worth a look).
Todd Orlando, Houston DC
This is a name sources are telling us to watch, and it makes a ton of sense. Orlando has ties to the Wisconsin Badgers’ program, having played for the team under AD Barry Alvarez from 1990 to 1994. He also is familiar with former teammate Joe Rudolph and has followed in the footsteps of Dave Aranda before.
Orlando took over for Aranda as Utah State’s defensive coordinator in 2013, and has had massive success as the DC from that point on. His 2014 defense ranked 17th nationally and second in the Mountain West with a pass efficiency defense of 111.42 while its rushing defense led the league with an average of 130.7 yards per game. His total defense was second in the league with 356.1 yards per game.
This season at Houston, Orlando’s defense finished 20th nationally in scoring defense (20.7 points per game) and 8th in rushing defense (108.8 yards per game).
He also plays with a 3-4 defense, which means a transition wouldn’t be so harsh on the players or on the recruiting trail.
All of that points to a coach who this staff would want to approach about his interest in his job.
Tim Tibesar, Wisconsin OLB coach
Hiring internally wouldn’t be the worst decision on the planet, or the most shocking for a coach like Paul Chryst. He is a loyal guy to his fellow coaches, and Tibesar certainly put a stamp on his resume in 2015.
That’s because he was the coach in charge as Joe Schobert took the Big Ten Linebacker of the Year award and saw his two starters, Schobert and Vince Biegel, set the record for most tackles for loss by a pair of linebackers on the same team.
It shouldn’t have been a surprise either, as Tibesar has a great pedigree in both college and the NFL. He also has previous experience as a defensive coordinator under Danny Hope at Purdue back in 2012. That season, Purdue led the Big Ten in interceptions, forced fumbles and takeaways.
For as great as Aranda’s defenses were, the one are lacking was the turnover department. If Tibesar is able to take his knowledge and production and mold it with what he learned with Aranda it could be a super smooth transition.
It would also help with recruiting, as most of the recruits in the 2016 class know who he is and some have gone on record to support him getting the job already.
Osia Lewis, San Diego State DL coach
Why not look to the West Coast for another defensive coordinator with an exotic scheme and a proven track record? Lewis isn’t a defensive coordinator obviously, but he is amongst one of the brightest position coaches in college football and has had previous defensive coordinator experience under his belt.
Lewis has followed Aztecs head coach Rocky Long at a few stops, including as DC for New Mexico. His last stop, San Diego State, provides us with the numbers to suggest he could be in line to take on a bigger role.
The Aztecs gave up just 16.4 points per game to opponents this season (6th nationally) and opponents rushed for just 108.7 yards (7th nationally) while passing for 178.6 yards per game (13th nationally).
Furthermore, Lewis isn’t just a “West Coast guy,” having spent time as an assistant with Illinois from 1997-02 coaching both the defensive line and linebackers. He was part of the 2002 Sugar Bowl coaching staff.
While his teams don’t exactly play a strict 3-4 scheme, it is a scheme that wants to take advantage of athletic defenses and multiple looks to opposing offenses. There’s little doubt the Badgers have been recruiting the type of player that would work well with Lewis’ defensive ideas.
Mike Elko, Wake Forest DC
To say Wake Forest has been a wasteland after the firing of Jim Grobe. However, that hasn’t been the case on the defensive side of the ball and it is in fact the reason there’s any hope in Winston-Salem these days.
Elko came to Wake Forest from Bowling Green alongside Dave Clawson and continues to produce high-level 3-4 defenses. His defense led the Mid-American Conference in scoring defense, total defense, rush defense and pass defense in each of the last two seasons.
Not too shabby for a league light on defense and usually heavy on high-scoring affairs.
The best mark of just how good a coach is comes from when he leaves, and it is no coincidence that Bowling Green’s defenses have fallen off the wagon.
Again, this could be down to style and pay, but don’t be surprised to see this name get some consideration in this upcoming search.
Frank Maile, Vanderbilt DL coach
With Derek Mason being a defensive guy, Vanderbilt doesn’t have a designated defensive coordinator. However, there is a coach who has proven himself to be worthy of a shot to lead his own defense, it is Maile.
He is also a name very familiar to Dave Aranda, having coached with him at Utah State. Maile is also a coach that could really bring energy and youth to the coaching staff. Maile is young in age but doesn’t lack for experience. He graduated in 2007 and became a member of the Utah State in 2009, and hasn’t looked back.
One of his best coaching efforts came with Aranda already at Wisconsin though, as Utah State’s 2013 defense ranked seventh in the nation in scoring defense (17.1 pts.), eighth in rushing defense, 12th in total defense and 15th in pass defense efficiency.
He’s been a dynamite defensive line coach, and his arrival at Vanderbilt helped take a 4-3 defense and mold it in to a productive 3-4 group. So much so that Vandy ranked 22nd in scoring defense (22.0) and 32nd against the run (143.1) after hitting rock bottom before his arrival.
Wisconsin has a different level of athlete and his ability to recruit the West Coast and Southeast could be big assets. The question mark for him is his age and the fact that he hasn’t held a coordinators job in the past.
If the Badgers want to go up and coming, watch for this to be a name in the mix.