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January 5, 2016

Les Miles

Dave Aranda

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

THE MODERATOR: Bring up Coach Miles, and he'll make a few remarks and he'll bring up our new defensive coordinator and he'll make a few remarks and take questions.


COACH MILES: First of all, we had a pretty extensive search that took place a year ago, and the opportunity to hire the best is what Joe Alleva has given us.

I want to thank Dean Dingman, tireless number of hours in assisting me in reviewing candidates. But most of our work was done last year, and we interviewed a number of guys, and the absolute star was this Dave Aranda.

And having run through and see his defense firsthand, I could virtually off of the games experienced, tell him what his defense was like to go against. We were fortunate to finish on top in the one match that we had with him, but that defense was the toughest defense for us to scheme and to go against on the year.

When you check his credentials, you find out that he started coaching as a player, and really has done nothing but live and sleep football for his time. There's no surprise that his defenses are nationally-ranked year-in and year-out and we look forward to adding him and his skills to our staff and we feel like it gives us a great edge on defense.

The LSU new defensive coordinator, Dave Aranda.

COACH ARANDA: Well, I'm blessed and I'm humbled. It's always been a goal of mine to coach in this league and to be coaching for Coach Miles, who I have so much respect for and want to say thank you for this opportunity. I'm excited about the future.

I wanted to take a minute to say thank you to Gary Anderson, thank you to Paul Crist, thank you too Barry Alvarez. Thank you to the players on defense at Wisconsin. Really the main focus of whatever success that I was a part of, they were the main component. Without them, I wouldn't have this opportunity.

I'm excited about what the future brings here. I'm excited to work with the great coaching staff that's assembled here. I'm looking forward to getting to know them and working together.

Always believed that a defense is putting your best players in the best spots to make plays, and so this is the very early stages of identifying who those players are, what they do well, what we can improve on.

Same with the coaches: Identifying those strengths, letting them do those strengths well. And so it's an exciting time. I'm excited to know where I'm at and what I'm doing and ready to get going on it.

That's really what I had. If there's any question, I'll take them.

Q. What would be a calling card or something that you would like to hang your hat on, a defensive style? I know you're variable, but what would people look at a defense of yours and say, look, that's him?
COACH ARANDA: Smart aggression. I think you want to be aggressive on defense. I think you want to play with an offensive mind-set, but you want to be able to do it in a way that's intelligent. You want to try to flip the mats as best you can but keep the big plays to a minimum.

So I think the details of your answer is to find your best players, get them matched up on their worst players and do it over and over and over again.

Q. When did Coach Miles offer you the job, and how long did it take you to decide that you were going to accept?
COACH ARANDA: All of it was a whirlwind. It happened right after our Bowl game, and I was very excited about the offer. Was able to spend some time with the family on a drive back from San Diego to my hometown, and we were able to talk about it. Was very excited to make the decision to be a part of this place and coach for Coach Miles.

Q. How much of a draw was it coming here to LSU to run your defense with some of the athletes that are already in place here at LSU?
COACH ARANDA: Very much so. I've always looked at this conference as an elite conference. I'll look at this school and I see the skill level of the players. I see the intelligence of the players. I know they have great football smarts. I know they have been coached well.

So I'm really excited to try to be able to try to get them in mismatches. I think so much of it is trying to match guys. If you take a defensive lineman and you get him in a spot to where he can win one-on-one, or you get a linebacker in a spot to where he can get in a spot to win one-on-one, I'm excited to find those one-on-ones and use our guys.

Q. You mentioned last year you were the star of the search. How close did you get last year to taking the job?
COACH ARANDA: I don't seen know. It was great talking with coaches miles. Obviously impressed with him and obviously impressed with LSU. I'm happy that I'm here now and that I get to be able to work with him now. Looking forward to getting going. Was able to watch some film some morning, so I kind of feel like a coach again after all of it, ready to feel a little bit more like that.

Q. Not sure how much you've been able to follow SEC offenses while you're in the Big Ten. I wonder just from your observations, what you see as how things are changing on offenses in the SEC; is it the same as what's been in the Big Ten? Do you always follow on defense or is there any way to ever get ahead of that curve?
COACH ARANDA: No, you try. It's a really good question. I think you study as much film as you can from all different types of leagues, whether it's high school, college for sure. You look at professional ranks. I think it's important, that film study is important, because you want to be able to know what people are doing now and have success, what answers there are to what people are doing now.

But you also want to be able to, like you mention, see what's coming around the corner. You want to be ready as best you can, and film study and sitting down and grinding at it is the best way. I've watched a bunch of SEC film. I know there's everything from two backs and three backs and power O's and lead plays and isolation plays and spread, spreads you out, guys are on the numbers and spread out in between. You're excited about that. I know I am. I'm ready to attack it. You wouldn't expect anything less.

Q. With the rest of the defensive staff already in place, if you would, maybe just explain how do you go about trying to bring them up to speed with what you want to do and how you all begin to interact?
COACH ARANDA: Well, I think it's very much about the best ideas, the best players. I think I've always saw myself as a conduit that way. What you want to be able to do is take the best ideas that come out that have room, no matter who's ideas they are. I know I'll have ideas and I imagine all the other coaches in there will, too.

So what fits best for LSU, that's what we'll do. Same goes with the players. And so if there's certain players that are best being in a certain spot, be able to get to that place as soon as possible and let's get them working there.

It is not or it has not been about, this is what the book says what we need to do, this is what we've done the last three years; it's what the best for this place.

Q. The previous two coordinators were both linebackers coaches, and Chavis recruited to a 4-3 with smaller faster linebackers and Steel recruited a lot of bigger, bulkier guys that are committed now. If you were picky, what type of linebackers are you looking for?
COACH ARANDA: Instinctive, tough, playmakers. I think you want to be able to recruit linebackers that in a one-on-one spot will make plays. You want to be able to try to get them matched up on running backs and pass protection.

So much of it is, would you rather blitz a back, as opposed to cover a back. If you're blitzing him, he's going to stay in a lot of times. So you can attack the protection, plus you can not defend all the possible guys that are eligible, and so that's a component.

The flip of that is you want someone when there are two backs and they run power at you, they can draw a line in the sand, come off blocks and make plays. And so you would want someone that's instinctive, someone that's tough, and someone that's a playmaker.

Q. Have you glanced at the LSU roster which you're about to be working with? Do you have any thoughts on the talent you'll be having and what role you'll be playing in talking to juniors who may be thinking about going to the NFL?
COACH ARANDA: Just started that this morning, was awfully excited about getting up and getting into the office to watch some tape. Looked at a couple games. Very excited about the back end and the depth and the speed there, and the ability moving forward to play man coverage, and to dictate terms on people, and then excited about the front.

I think there's an abundance of pass rushers and we're surely going to put them in position to pass rush and I think there's some talent at linebacker that we can exploit, as well.

But I think moving forward with the juniors, that's something that I know that I'm excited about and I've already made a couple overtures there. I'm going to continue to do that. I think that's a big part of where we're at right now.

Q. Are you going to coach a position or are you going to be a walk-around DC? And secondly, I know that in your three years at Wisconsin, you went against Auburn and South Carolina, Alabama; besides LSU, what stood out about the talent on those four SEC teams?
COACH ARANDA: Still talking to Coach Miles about how that goes. I know I've had experience with linebackers and had experience with other position groups, as well. Been a stand around guy, as well, too.

When I look at SEC offenses, obviously you're impressed with the skill set that they bring. You're impressed with the coaching abilities and the ability to react and respond to whatever you're doing on defense. It takes a series or two, and they have made an adjustment and they are back up on it.

And so I feel I'm at a great level. It's a great position. Like I say, I'm blessed, I'm honored to be here. Looking forward to giving it my best shot.

Q. My take on you is measured, thoughtful. How would you describe yourself? Why coaching? I understand the injury portion, but why coaching? Why have you stuck with it so long?
COACH ARANDA: Good question. Coaching kind of came upon because I was out of a bunch of other things. I think in high school, wasn't that great of a student. Tried to enlist in the Navy and was not able to get into the Navy with those injuries.

And I was a high school coach; Jim Walker back at Redlands High School kind of saved me and got me coaching JV football. I was a wing-t pulling guard in high school, so I was teaching the guard to kick out a five-technique and everything going to junior college, and so it kind of started from there.

Once you're into coaching, you just love being a part of a team. There's nothing better than having a bunch of guys that are all on the same page; that have all blood, sweat and tears and put it out there. It's one thing to kind of hold it back; it's another thing to put it completely out there and have a bunch of guys do that together and to walk out of a tunnel, whatever it is, and go get someone else. That's exciting, man, so you want to be a part of that as much as you can.

Q. Aside from obviously your interview last year, were there any previous connections with members of the staff, guys you've worked with before or been in the same circles with?
COACH ARANDA: When I was a coaching at Cal Lutheran, and I used to go visit USC, Coach Orgeron was there. We talked about get off and pass rush and that.

When I was at Houston, I was linebacker coach. Coach Peveto was just leaving, so had a couple talks with him and was awfully impressed with him and the recruiting he had done. When I was at Utah State, we played a lot of man coverage, blitzed a lot of people, had some success. Were able to do that with a lot of the DBs that Coach Raymond recruited, I think three of the four are in the NFL. So the people I worked with at Utah State all worked with him previously and spoke the world of him. Those have been the associations so far.

Q. On game days, do you have a presence coach being on the sideline or press box and if so, why?
COACH ARANDA: It's whatever fits best for the staff. I've been up and I've been down. Past couple years I've been down but it's per those staffs, that because the best fit. Previously was always up and so I think it's the same thing, you try to be able to use your staff as best you can and so if you're up, obviously the view is better, it's a little bit calmer, get to see all 22.

If you're down, you'll be able to feel the energy of your players a little bit more and look them in the eye and see what's what. You've got someone up top that can see all 22 and help you with the things you can't see. So those are things that we have not gotten to yet but we will.

Q. You mentioned you met with some underclassmen. What was their reception to you? How did those meetings go?
COACH ARANDA: They are happening right now. I'm looking forward to getting that going.

Q. Can you talk about the complex ties of teaming a system but still allowing players to play freely, and how do you balance that, especially with the 20-hour rule and all of that stuff going on?
COACH ARANDA: That's a really good question. I think so much of football is playing with a clear mind and I think the less checks you have, the less double calls you have. Meaning versus this you're playing; if it's pro, we're playing this, if it's slot, we're playing this. The less empty checks you have, the more play; it's this call, this is what it is and no matter what they line up in, is what we're playing.

And then that, combined with -- in the past, we've been a field defense, so we get guy aligned to the field, get guys aligned to the boundary. It's been very simple. I think that's been key, because it allows guys to play fast.

Within that structure, you're talking about how now everyone has a job, everyone has a 1/11th that they pretty much have to do, and I think that 1/11th is easier to comprehend and easier to complete when it's simpler on the front end, when I'm lined up here, this is whatever happens back there, doesn't affect me, and I can play. So that's what it's been, whether it's been at Hawai'i, at Utah State, at Wisconsin and we're obviously looking at that here.

So I'm excited moving forward.

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FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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