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Exclusive: Baylor HC Dave Aranda sits down with David Smoak

September 14, 2020

In this in-season exclusive interview, Baylor head coach Dave Aranda visits with SicEm365 Radio’s David Smoak in 1-on-1 fashion ahead of the season opener.

David Smoak: We are with Baylor football coach Dave Aranda on SicEm365 Radio. What's the relief when you knew you had a game and also the fact that how quickly can you get turnaround with technology to immediately start focusing in on University of Houston?

Dave Aranda: It was a great relief you know, our players are really excited, coaches were excited to be able to have this game. I was so proud of our administrative staff. Jeremiah Dickey, Mack Rhoades worked really hard to make this happen and you know, we had talked about prior about, we had a practice on Saturday and I think Sunday was going to be off, Monday was going to be off and you know, the thought there was you know, not playing to the 26th, prior to getting this game was to try to get the work we need to get in but then not overdo it. But you know, there's probably motivation issues to address as well as this certain point you've been practicing since summertime and so to try to measure that out to be as fresh as you can come Kansas. And so that was the initial plan on that Saturday. And so when that flipped, we talked about it with some of our grad assistants and and analysts that hey, you know, Saturday, you're staying all night,  and all day Sunday. This is called the old bait and switch. They had some plans I think that got flipped around. But everyone's excited for it. And so it's a good little energy that's going on around over here and the coffee's flowing for sure. So it's good.

David Smoak:  So obviously, Xavier Newman still doesn't play this week since he didn't play against Louisiana Tech. Are you pretty good health wise when it comes to battling COVID, injury wise? Did the extra helped get somebody back that wouldn't have been there?

Dave Aranda: We're good. Yeah, I feel our guys have done a great job and I'm proud of them. And I think obviously you get -- the concern for me comes with negative news with the game getting postponed. Right away the first thought I've got is COVID-19 is guys just, you know, dealing with frustrations trying to get together talk about this, gripe about that; Go here, go there, go home maybe. And a lot issues that we've had, COVID-19, has been people kind of leaving our bubble. And so, we've talked quite a bit about staying in, but everything's connected, you know, and everything matters. And so, when that news happened on on Tuesday, it was the irst thing I thought about. So far so good. It's crazy you just see the landscape of it and see these teams playing without 20-30 of their folks, you know, and so it looks like that's just how it is.

David Smoak: You coached at Houston under Coach Briles so it is this kind of a little bit of a trip down memory lane when you knew it was them.

Dave Aranda: Yeah, yeah. So I had coach there obviously back been the AD there. Brian Stewart has coached there. He was there with Coach (Kevin) Sumlin and so there's a few guys who have been there. Always been very impressed with Houston and just their talent level and just the recruiting that that they do year in year out. I think they're real professional coaches. I've got a lot of respect for the defensive staff. I've visited with them when I was at LSU quite a bit and offensive staff wise was on the staff there at Tech with with Dana and a lot respect for him. Just very, very bright and innovative and the rest of the staff I think, Dawson coached against I think this 2016, I was at LSU and he was at Southern Miss, I think that was the year. I think Brandon Jones was an o-lineman for us at Tech when I was there. And so of lot of connections that staff, great group of guys and it's gonna be a great challenge for us.

David Smoak:  When you took over at Baylor, has there been anything since you've been there now even though the suspension of everything in the spring, early summer, that is even better than you thought?

Dave Aranda: The people. I think when you first get here, this is proabbly hard to talk about, I imagine but you know, there's certain spots you're at to where you have to kind of put on a facade of, hey, this is Dave the coach, this is me at work. This is how I have to handle myself at work. I need to be this way just politically kind of make it and unfortunately I think that's probably more common than you'd like. And it's probably more of a protection thing or self preservation thing. What I love about Baylor is that is that you can be you and people are wanting to get to know you and get you and back you and be right there with you. And so I think, you know, our whole staff feels our kids, our kids are working really hard. So our kids feel that, I feel they do with our new staff, and I think there's there's a closeness and togetherness, that I feel here. You give credit to Mack and to Linda and just the whole, from the top down, it feels like family. And so you felt that right away when you got here. And it's continued to be that during good and bad times, which is always the test of it.

David Smoak: Dave, I had somebody that sent me a note that said when they've listened to you, now that people have heard more of you and how you discuss football, but also how you discuss everything other than football. I know he was one of the greatest NFL coaches of all time, but they they brought up you have personality traits similar to Tom Landry. When you hear that what do you think?

Dave Aranda: Yeah, I don't know. I do. I do realize that I'm different. And so I think you know, one of the things I remember in talking with Coach Dungy on the phone, and I remember coach going, Dave, you know, it's important that you guys kind of start off and you win. And, you know, because I think there's a there's a certain pitch the way that I'm built, and the way that I always talk and see things is kind of a more analytical, hear all the opinions, let's decide on the best option. And I've always done that in good and bad times and we've never really have gotten to where I've been shaken. During good times, that's a positive, and Tony Dungy was telling me this, he goes Dave during bad times, they're going to go, because they said this to him, they're going to see you and go, why aren't you saying this? Why aren't you saying that? Why are you motivating this why aren't you motivating that? He goes, Dave just be you and the whole thing and I appreciate that. I noticed that it's probably different than most. When I see players that we have that are like, I feel that are like me, and I feel that I can reach them a certain way. I feel that when there's players that are not like me, I feel like I can address them and reach them but a different way as well. It motivates me to be me, but I realize that I'm different. When you pop on TV and stuff, it's pretty clear.

David Smoak: Well, there's no question you seem to be much more comfortable. This is the first time you've had that, you know, all these things where you're the main focus. And speaking of that, you don't seem to be somebody that would ever have to battle an ego, but everybody at times can get full of themselves. Have you ever had to cross yourself and kind of check yourself at the door with any kind of time in your career where you had the battle and ego?

Dave Aranda: No. Now, my wife would probably say different. I don't know, depends, is she listening to this?

David Smoak: Probably so, wives wants to know all of that.

Dave Aranda: She would probably say different, but not professionally. For me, it's always been what is the best -- I was just in a meeting prior to this defensively so I looked at a certain personnel group, certain plays, and I had my thoughts and here's what I think, guys, what do you what do you guys think? And there's some different thoughts there and you know, and so, whatever is the best, let's do that. Whatever fits us. And so, it's always been that way and I think that way is it forces you, I believe, to be a better person, because you have to get that ego out of the way. You're gonna have to sit and listen, not to reply, but listen to understand and listen to really know where this opinion or this thought is coming from, and give them the time to detail kind of what they've put into it and how they got into this. You know, hey, my heart's really behind this, to hear all that, give his due respect. And then if it's, if it's the best thing out there, then let's do it. And so I think, you know, you have to step aside to do that. And when you have a group of guys on a football staff that are all doing that, good things are gonna happen.

David Smoak: Based on what Baylor did last year, which was successful defensively and also what you know, and what Ron Roberts is history is, how did you guys go about saying, we're not going to try to fit a square into a hole or a circle or vice versa, we're going to do with what we have. Some guys just want, "this is the way we're gonna do it." When did you guys or how did you guys and why did you guys come about what you're gonna do defensively with what you had and what you know?

Dave Aranda: Yeah, I think there's certain things that Baylor did last year particularly that I think we're really comfortable with, the players are comfortable with, you know Joey McGuire's a guy that comes to mind that would vouch for things and he was comfortable with. Then there's a few other things that Ron (Roberts) was coming from, you know, certain coverages and just kind of a way of attacking certain formations and protections that he's bringing from Lafayette that he's been comfortable with. And so I think that that has been the main focus, but there definitely is. Ron was already bringing from Lafayette some of the stuff that he's taken from from me, and so there's there's already some of that built in. Then plus just the times that we've had with quarantine and the postponements and everything else to talk about this that there's been some more but you know it's it's taken what we're talking about it's taking guys seeing kind of hey, this is what we feel are the strength of our team is you know with our players, this is where our talent is, this is how they learn, this is what they can do, of all these things, let's do what we do best. And there's a bit of both in there or all three and I feel really good about the fit. I feel really good about the simplicity and I'm excited to put it out there.

David Smoak: One thing when you take that field thank goodness on Saturday morning to run onto the field. What's going to be going through Dave Aranda is mind?

Dave Aranda: I just want to see us give it our best shot. So to through a week of practice, to go through a Friday where everyone's focused, everyone's locked in, you get to feel that there's a momentum that comes. I was talking with John Lovett and Trestan Ebner about this the other day about, when everyone's doing the right things and everyone's putting time in and everyone's sacrificing and everyone's thinking of others and trying to lift people up, there is a momentum that you feel and it's almost like that unstoppable train. You get that rolling, where it's just you feel that, it's one of the things that's great about being on a team is you just feel that energy. And so I want to build a get that energy going this week. And so that Saturdayn, when we run on the field you feel it. 

David Smoak: Dave Aranda, head football coach at Baylor with us, SicEm365 Radio.

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Exclusive: Baylor HC Dave Aranda sits down with David Smoak

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