Some defensive coaches, like new Wisconsin defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, have creating turnovers at, or near the top of their defensive philosophy. On the other hand, they're are coordinators like Bob Diaco (the 2012 FootballScoop Defensive Coordinator of the Year) who have turnovers "a distant fourth" on their list.
For Aranda, his defensive philosophy of creating an hunger for takeaways starts during practice, and it began during his time working under Greg McMackin at Hawaii.
"He was the first to give me the defensive coordinator title. He was a coach who emphasized blitzing and getting sacks. He emphasized takeaways and scoring on defense. Those are all things that I think are awfully important and we will try to accomplish on defense." Aranda explains in the latest Varsity issue of Wisconsin's online magazine.
While saying and believing that is one thing, devising a system in practice to mirror that is a little more difficult. Aranda has a system to do just that, and explains how they go about keeping track of "rips, fumbles, and bats", or as we've heard them called by other defensive coaches in the profession, "ball disruptions".
"In practice we'll keep track of how many times a defensive player is making a rip attempt. Let's say the ball doesn't come out, but he's making an attempt to rip it out, we'll highlight that. And if the ball does come out as a strip, or it's a sack-fumble-strip, we'll make a highlight of that." Aranda explained.
"Whether a guy is rushing, or in coverage, playing the hand of a receiver and the ball is knocked down or coming out, that would be a bat. And then obviously picks are interceptions. In fall camp at Utah State, it was good from the competitive standpoint, the D versus the O."
While it's a lot easier to keep track of those kinds of things at the FBS level where you've got the hands and eyes available to do it, the simple fact remains that having a similar system in place will help develop the necessary attitude to excel in the takeaway department come the fall.