BYU Football: Baylor Coach Dave Aranda Talks Cougars, Visiting Provo

Baylor football coach Dave Aranda has previously visited LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo and BYU.

And he never forgot it.

For the first time since serving as the defensive coordinator for a Utah State staff and team that fell 6-3 to BYU in 2012, Aranda will return to Provo when the No. 25 Cougars will host the No. 10 Bears on Saturday in college football alone. game this weekend between ranked teams.

“They’re great at welcoming you at the start of the game, and really (are) kind of a friendly fan base,” Aranda said. “But once you walk in it’s packed and it gets noisy. … And so I think there’s a home-court advantage there.

Kickoff is at 8:15 p.m. and the game will be nationally televised by ESPN. Aranda said for help adjusting to the late-night game, he would look to his offensive coordinator, Jeff Grimes, and offensive line coach, Eric Mateos. They were at BYU in 2020 and coached in many late-night games when Zach Wilson led the Cougars to an 11-1 season under Grimes’ tutelage.

“It’s also a whole (new) thing, just in your hotel watching the clock,” Aranda said at a press conference Monday morning in Waco, Texas. “It’s a storm we have to weather, and we’ve talked about it and we’re preparing for it, so we’ll see.”

On Monday, BYU Football announced that a “limited number” of tickets are still available for Baylor’s first visit to LES since 1984, the year the Cougars won the national championship. Seating capacity is listed as 63,725.

Aranda said the Bears have been preparing for the environment and the altitude (4,551 feet) since January.

“Just every difficult hurdle (has been taken into account),” he said. “Everything that is not easy. Anything that isn’t comforting, and saying yes to those things.

After the Bears crushed FCS Albany 69-10 last Saturday at McLane Stadium, Aranda said “it only gets harder from here.” Baylor hosts Texas State next week and begins the Big 12 game Sept. 24 at Iowa State.

“What a great opportunity with this upcoming game against BYU and Kalani (Sitake) and his team,” Aranda said. “They are playing at a high level, so we are delighted with that. I think it’s a new opportunity for us to show what we are.

Here are more comments from Aranda regarding BYU:

• On what Cougars starting QB Jaren Hall brings to the table:

“Excellent play-action pass thrower. I think he can move around in the pocket and create things if things aren’t there. He’s going to be one of the best quarterbacks we’ve faced all year. The movie is impressive in terms of the decisions it makes, the throws it’s able to make, and the throws it really doesn’t take. He does not put the team in danger. He was good last year; He’s better now.

• On what impressed him in BYU’s 50-21 win over USF:

“It’s a group of veterans. I mean there are eight guys on each side of the ball, and then just a lot of experience on top of that too. They’ve been playing for a while. And there is a great physicality about them. I think their size and physique really stand out. They play a real, old-school, physical type of game. And it’s cool to see from the outside.

• How much it helps to have Grimes and Mateos there for BYU knowledge:

“Yeah, so there’s good feedback from them, just about the experience of playing at night, and what it’s like. Obviously they know the coaches there and there’s a good knowledge of the personalities, and all that. But you know, I haven’t worked with Kalani, but I’m close to Kalani.

“Kevin Clune (linebackers coach) is on that staff – I’m close to him. Ed Lamb, I worked for two months when I left Delta State and Ron Roberts, before going to Hawaii, I was there with Ed in southern Utah. A lot of these guys, I know them too. We are all a close group.

• On whether RB Chris Brooks is similar to former BYU RB Tyler Allgeier:

“The Cal transfer they have is physical. It’s a bit like, “here we go again”. And he’s a physical runner, he drops forward, he has good speed and his vision was strong. I think he is a strength. The offensive line and their cohesion and their ability to communicate with each other – they’ve been at it for a while, a lot of these guys.

Cougars on air

No. 10 Baylor (1-0) at No. 25 BYU (1-0)

Saturday, 8:15 p.m. MDT

LaVell Edwards Stadium

Provo, UT

Television: ESPN

Radio: KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM/1160 AM

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