What did Dave Aranda mean to Wisconsin's defense?
Drew Hamm: He changed the entire way Wisconsin's program thought about how to play defense and that can never be said enough. I was way more excited when the defense took the field this past year than the offense and completely trusted every decision Aranda made. How many coaches can you say that about in college?
Jon Arens: Aranda is a rare out of box thinker in a sport that tentatively embraces change, and more often than not, is scared by it. For a meat and potatoes program like Wisconsin, his tenure is significant, and will undoubtedly leave quite a legacy. It would be surprising if UW decided to stray too far from Aranda's own small coaching tree in replacing him, as his system clearly worked. Ironically, his greatest legacy might be that he has proven that top coordinator talent can be worth the hefty price tag you must pay for it in 2015. Wisconsin was never going to keep Aranda, but they can learn a lot from his tenure, and perhaps even more from his departure.
Neal Olson: There are two main philosophies on defense, protect the castle or storm the fort. Aranda was clearly in the storm the fort camp. Perhaps it was too many years spent watching "bend but don't break" defenses from Wisconsin teams of the past, but I appreciated his attacking style and ability to keep opposing quarterbacks under nearly constant duress.
LSU hires Dave Aranda away from Wisconsin
Wisconsin is losing its highly valued defensive coordinator to LSU.
What does the loss of Aranda mean for 2016?
Drew: I don't know, I'm just some jackass on the internet, but Wisconsin should stick with a 3-4 defense next year (and all the years after that). The returning talent in the front seven means the Badgers will have a good defense next year, but the loss of Aranda looms large over Wisconsin for 2016.
Kyle Vos: I think it's safe to say that the defense won't be as good without Aranda as it would have been with him. I believe, and obviously LSU does too, that Aranda is one of the best coordinators in the sport and it's impossible to expect his replacement to be able to match his ability. Exactly how much worse will depend a lot upon the replacement. Like others have said, a major factor will be the decision to run a 3-4 or a 4-3. I'm of the camp that believes the team must stick with the 3-4. The personnel fits it far better with a bevy of linebackers that need to see the field and a defensive line that has been trending towards the larger side.
Jon: It is hard to say what the impact will be without seeing who will be replacing Aranda. There will of course be a drop off of some kind, but players have bought into the scheme, and most of that defensive staff should remain in place, pending a major change in style by the new DC. The linebacking corps should be stellar, with Biegel, Cichy, Chris Orr, and Leon Jacobs returning to the fold. If the defense remains a 3-4, I think expectations for the unit should be high.
Neal: In the short term I suspect there will only be a slight drop off in 2016. There is plenty returning talent on defense that no matter who takes over, success should be easy enough to come by. Joe Schobert and Michael Caputo are giant loses without question, but nearly every other starter returns, along with those who saw a majority of playing time. Longer term, it will depend on whether the new coordinator will stick with the 3-4, or deal with the transition to 4-3.
Who would you like to see replace Aranda?
Drew: Todd Orlando is the greatest name for a football coach that I've ever heard. It's so great it sounds made up. If Bart Houston is under center, with his perfect quarterback name, and Orlando is helming the defense there may not be any team that can compete with our appropriately named roster. Anyways, I don't know what kind of defense Orlando runs, or if he'd be interested in returning to his alma mater, but I do know that he used to play at Wisconsin AND his Houston defense just shut down Dalvin Cook in the Peach Bowl. If I can't get the job, and Barry Alvarez's refusal to give me an interview for the head coaching gig leads me to believe I won't, I think Orlando is the man for the job.
Kyle: Todd Orlando, Tim Tibesar and Mel Tucker are the three names I've heard the most and I'd be cool with any one of them. Like Neal said, though, the biggest factor for me will be that the replacement sticks with the 3-4 defense. It looked like Orlando ran a 3-4 at Houston and he's the hot name, so he would be my top target. Tibesar and Tucker both have Wisconsin ties in addition to being respected in the coaching community.
Jon: Aranda's replacement should be whoever took the best notes while he was here. If that was Tim Tibesar, then the new DC should be Tim Tibesar. But if there is a hot-shot 3-4 coordinator out there, like Nate Woody at App State, and that person interviews well, sign them up. Given Aranda's relationship with UW, I would almost just go ask him who should be his replacement. I am sure he would have a good idea. I imagine all those 3-4 coordinators go on vacations together.
Neal: In all honesty, I would have no major issues with any hire provided he sticks to the 3-4 defense. Wisconsin just went through a challenging transition on offense, from pro style, to spread and then back to pro. Recruiting and player development, the lifeblood of college football, had major setbacks for the Badgers during that time period. To that end I'd like to see Tim Tibesar get a shot. The transition would be smooth since he is already on staff, he has Big Ten and NFL coaching experience and it seems like the sort of safe play I envision Paul Chryst making.