Q&A: Dave Aranda

After Wisconsin fourth practice of fall camp, Badgers defensive coordinator Dave Aranda briefly addressed the media Thursday.

How would you evaluate the first couple days of fall camp?

Dave Aranda: It's been positive, especially since the pads came on. We have taken steps every day. The things that gave us trouble in spring we have already improved on. There's been progress. Today was Chris Borland's really true first day in pads. He really showed up. We had to pull him out about half way through just so we could see things a little bit better because he's such a disrupter. It's been all positive up to this point. We will continue to get better.

How are the guys handling the new defensive scheme?

Aranda: The guys have really progressed. Summer was a huge part of it for us. When I speak to the guys they comment on how they have such a greater understanding now because of what we did over the summer. Each coach put together about 30 videos for the players to look at multiple times over summer, and on the videos there are notes and drawings all there to help them learn. It was very apparent at the end of spring that they just did not understand some things, and that's going to be true for most players when there is a transition or something is completely new. Summer helped us tie up those lose ends. We are so far ahead from where we were in the first couple days of spring so that's exciting.

What results have you been seeing from the strength and conditioning the players did over the summer?

Aranda: The D-linemen's technique has improved. They have been the biggest improvement from where we were in the spring until now. It's just very different from a one man—one gap philosophy. Where we play a gap and every linebacker has a gap, and it's all gapped out, very sound and a lot of people do that. We moved to a two-gap philosophy. We're knocking people back, and we're controlling the man if the ball goes here I'm playing left or if the ball goes here I'm playing right. It's very different to ask of them, but that's what we're asking them to do and they're doing it.

With Leon Jacobs and Alec James, can they ball on either side?

Aranda: Yes and we're going to keep looking at them in camp. I think right now we have James in the boundary and Jacobs in the field, but they are both interchangeable. We're trying to find ways we can utilize their speed, their athleticism and their pass rush. So really when you get down to it, it's just match ups and how we feel they can match up on a back, if we can get a match up on a guard or offensive tackle. Those two guys are interchangeable. When we look at a pass, a lot of people will look at how to defend it in the back end. We'll look at it as how do we get to the quarterback before they throw it, and those two will allow us to do that.

Physically are those two players, Jacobs and James what you're looking for?

Aranda: Absolutely. That will be the standard from now on in terms of the outside back response.

How raw is Leon Jacobs in comparison to Alec James?

Aranda: He's pretty raw, but the intelligence and the instincts he has shown the last couple days have been incredible. We brought an overload blitz from the field and Leon was a looper and the quarterback broke contain. Leon flashed with his hands, worked around and had a sack. It was all very instinctive. There are some players that would freeze in that instance, because that's not how it was drawn up and the quarterback was breaking contain, but Leon made an adjustment on the run and made a play. It was exciting. He really flashed and has showed up the past two days.

Will Vince Biegel be moved to number two with Ethan Hemer out for a few days (rest)?

Aranda: Yes, Biegel continues to get better and better. I love the kid and how much it means to him. I'm a big fan of him. I know he's going to end up playing for us sooner rather than later.

How has Ethan Hemer adjusted to his new position?

Aranda: He missed all of spring and he came in ready for fall. He's such an intelligent kid. We have some intelligent guys on defense but I would have to put him at the top of the list in that regard. When we started fall camp he knew everybody's position. It's amazing to be around him.

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