LSU Gold

Dave Aranda Season 2024

Dave Aranda
Associate Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator
Redlands, Calif.
Alma Mater
California Lutheran (1999)

Hometown: Redlands, Calif.
Alma Mater: California Lutheran
Graduating Year: 1999
Experience: 3 Years

Dave Aranda, widely considered one of the top defensive minds in all of football, enters his fourth season as LSU’s defensive coordinator in 2019. Aranda, who coaches the linebackers as well as serving as associate head coach to Ed Orgeron, has a track record of producing NFL-ready players on his side of the football.

In three years as defensive coordinator with the Tigers, Aranda has seen nine of his players selected in the NFL Draft, two each in the first and second rounds. In addition to the draft picks, six more of Aranda’s LSU defenders have made NFL rosters as free agents.

During his stay at LSU, the Tigers have increased their win total each season and produced a 27-11 overall mark. Five players have earned first team All-America and 10 have achieved first team All-SEC status under Aranda.

In 2018, linebacker Devin White, a player Aranda groomed for three years, became LSU’s first Butkus Award winner as well as being the No. 5 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. White capped his LSU career by earning consensus All-America honors on his way to becoming the highest drafted linebacker in school history.

LSU’s defense produced two other first team All-Americans in 2018 – safety Grant Delpit was a unanimous selection, while cornerback Greedy Williams earned first team honors. Williams was picked in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

As a unit in 2018, LSU led the SEC in interceptions with 17 and ranked No. 2 in the league in pass efficiency defense and takeaways with 25.

Individually, White led the SEC in total tackles with 123, while Delpit was first in the league in interceptions (5) and second in passes defended (14).

In his second season with the Tigers in 2017, Aranda’s defense featured 12 players that started their first career game at some point during the year, which included six in the season-opening shutout of BYU. Overall, nine true freshmen along with four redshirt freshmen played significant snaps for the Tigers last year and combined for 38 starts (21 by true freshmen, 17 by redshirt freshmen).

Still, with all of that youth on the field, LSU ranked among the SEC leaders in nearly every major defensive category. LSU finished ranked among the top 5 in the SEC in pass efficiency (No. 2 at 110.9 rating), rush defense (No. 3 at 128.5 yards per game), scoring defense (No. 4 at 18.9 points per game) and total defense (No. 4 at 316.2 yards per game). LSU allowed only 11 passing TDs all year, which ranked No. 2 in the league and tied for fifth nationally.

Individually in 2017, White, a sophomore in his first season as a starter, led the SEC tackles per game (10.2) and earned second team All-America honors, while redshirt freshman Greedy Williams topped the league in interceptions (6) and earned third team All-America recognition. Cornerback Donte Jackson was a second team All-America selection and was selected in the second round of the NFL Draft.

In his first year with the Tigers in 2016, Aranda was the mastermind of a unit that allowed the fewest touchdowns (16) and fewest touchdowns per game (1.3) in college football. The LSU defense was also top 10 nationally in scoring (No. 5 at 15.8 points per game) and total yards (No. 10 at 314.4 yards per game).

LSU finished ranked among the top three in the SEC in the four major defensive categories in 2016 – No. 2 in scoring defense and rushing defense (117.2 yards per game) and No. 3 in total defense and pass defense (197.2 yards per game). It marked the first time since 2006 that LSU finished in the top three in the SEC in those four categories since 2006.

In 2016, LSU held six of its 12 opponents to fewer than 300 total yards and only one team eclipsed the 400-yard mark against the Tigers. LSU capped the year with perhaps its most dominating performance of the season, limiting Louisville and its Heisman Trophy quarterback, Lamar Jackson, without a touchdown for the only time all season in the 29-9 victory. LSU held Louisville to season lows for points (9) and rushing yards (67) as the Tigers recorded eight sacks, just one shy of tying the school record.

Overall in 12 games, the Tigers held opponents to one touchdown or less in nine games and only one team scored more than two offensive touchdowns against LSU in 2016 (Texas A&M). After allowing two first half touchdowns to Ole Miss, the Tigers shutout the Rebels in the second half and then stretched the scoreless streak to five-straight quarters with three scoreless quarters against Alabama.

Now entering his sixth season as a defensive coordinator at a Power 5 Conference school, Aranda’s defense has ranked in the Top 12 nationally in total yards five times. His defense has also ranked among the top 10 in scoring four of the past six years. Since taking over as the defensive coordinator at Utah State in 2014, Aranda’s defenses have given up a touchdown or less in 45 of 93 games.

LSU’s 2016 defense featured a pair of first team All-America selections in defensive back Tre’Davious White and safety Jamal Adams, as well as a second team All-America in linebacker Kendell Beckwith. Five starters on the LSU defense were picked in the 2017 NFL Draft, including White and Adams, who were both first-round picks.

Other defensive highlights for the Tigers in 2016 include outside linebacker Arden Key breaking school record for sacks in a season with 12; leading the nation in redzone touchdowns allowed (8); leading the SEC in first downs allowed (192); and ranking No. 2 in the SEC in third-down conversions (32.3 percent).

Prior to joining the Tigers, Aranda served in the same capacity at Wisconsin, where he led a Badgers defense that in a combined three-year span, ranked in the top five in the nation in the four major defensive categories – scoring, total yards, passing yards and rushing yards.

From 2013-15, Aranda’s defense allowed an average of 289.4 yards per game – which ranked first in the nation over that span. His defense allowed 16.9 points (No. 2 nationally), 179.9 passing yards (No. 3 nationally) and 109.6 rushing yards (No. 4 nationally) over the three years, a stretch that saw Wisconsin post a 30-10 record, reach the Big Ten title game in 2014 and play in two New Year’s Day bowl games.

In three years at Wisconsin, Aranda’s defense pitched five shutouts (2 in 2013 and 2015, 1 in 2014) and didn’t allow opponents to score more than a single touchdown in 18 games over that stretch.

Aranda’s 2015 defense capped the regular season leading the nation in points allowed at 13.1 points a contest. Wisconsin ranked No. 3 in the nation in total defense (268.5 yards per game), No. 4 in rushing defense (95.4 yards per game) and No. 7 in passing defense (173.2 yards per game).

LSU opened the 2014 season against Aranda and Wisconsin, winning 28-24. However. Aranda’s defense limited the Tigers to 126 rushing yards as LSU used a fourth-quarter rally to beat the Badgers in Houston.

Aranda spent the 2012 season at Utah State where he helped the Aggies to a school record 11 wins (2 losses) and a 41-15 victory over Toledo in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. As the defensive coordinator at USU, he oversaw an Aggies defense that ranked seventh in the country in scoring defense, allowing just 15.4 points per game.

In addition to scoring defense, Utah State also ranked among the top 15 nationally in sacks (eighth), pass efficiency defense (10th), rush defense (12th) and total defense (15th). In the red zone, the Aggies were particularly effective, allowing opponents to score on just 63.6 percent of their trips inside the 20-yard line, a mark that tied them for third in the country in red zone defense. USU opponents scored just 13 TDs in 44 red zone opportunities (29.5 percent).

Prior to his season at Utah State, Aranda spent four years at Hawai’i, the last two as the Warriors’ defensive coordinator after coaching the defensive line his first two years. During the 2011 season at Hawai’i, Aranda’s defense led the Western Athletic Conference and was tied for 15th in the FBS in sacks with 35.

In 2010, Aranda’s Hawai’i defense led the nation in turnovers caused (38), while ranking second in the nation in interceptions (23) and ninth in fumbles recovered (15), as well as tying the school record for most defensive touchdowns with five.

Prior to Hawai’i, Aranda coached at Delta State University in 2007, where he served as co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach. Following the season, he signed on to become Southern Utah’s defensive coordinator for new head coach Ed Lamb and was on the job for one month before head coach Greg McMackin called and asked Aranda to join the Hawai’i staff.

In one year at Delta State, Aranda helped the school win the Gulf South Conference and lead NCAA Division II in pass efficiency defense, ranking second in total and scoring defense, and third in run defense.

Before Delta State, Aranda spent two years as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at his alma mater, California Lutheran, where the Kingsmen led the conference in scoring defense and total defense. It was his second go-around with California Lutheran after serving as an assistant from 1996-99, while finishing his degree.

From 2003-04, Aranda was the linebackers coach at the University of Houston and before that he served as a graduate assistant at Texas Tech.

After he graduated from Redlands High School in California in 1994, numerous surgeries followed and ended his playing career. In 1995, he started his coaching resume at Redlands as an assistant coach. Aranda graduated from California Lutheran in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy. In 2002, he earned his master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies at Texas Tech.

Aranda and his wife, Dione, have two daughters, Jaelyn and Jordyn, and a son, Ronin.

Year at LSU: Fourth (appointed Jan. 1, 2016)
Birthdate: Sept. 29, 1976
Hometown: Redlands, Calif.
Wife: Dione
Children: Jaelyn, Jordyn, Ronin
High School: Redlands High School (1994)
College: California Lutheran (1999)
Postgraduate: Texas Tech (2002)

1995 Redlands (Calif.) High School (defensive coordinator/linebackers/offensive line)
1996-99 California Lutheran (linebackers)
2000-02 Texas Tech (graduate assistant)
2003-04 Houston (linebackers)
2005-06 California Lutheran (defensive coordinator/linebackers)
2007 Delta State (co-defensive coordinator/secondary)
2008-11 Hawaii (defensive line, 2008-09; defensive coordinator, 2010-11)
2012 Utah State (defensive coordinator)
2013-15 Wisconsin (defensive coordinator/inside linebackers)
2016-19 LSU (defensive coordinator/linebackers)

Season Bowl Team Opponent Results
2000 Texas Tech East Carolina L, 40-27
2001 Alamo Texas Tech Iowa L, 19-16
2002 Tangerine Texas Tech Clemson W, 55-15
2003 Hawaii Houston Hawaii W, 54-48
2008 Hawaii Hawaii Notre Dame L, 49-21
2010 Hawaii Hawaii Tulsa L, 62-35
2012 Famous Idaho Utah State Toledo W, 41-15
2013 Capital One Wisconsin South Carolina L, 34-24
2014 Outback Wisconsin Auburn W,34-31 (OT)
2015 Holiday Wisconsin Southern Cal W, 23-21
2016 Citrus LSU Louisville W, 29-9
2017 Citrus LSU Notre Dame L, 21-17
2018 Fiesta LSU UCF W, 40-32