FootballScoop is proud to announce that Dave Aranda and Tim Tibesar are the 2015 FootballScoop Linebackers Coaches of the Year presented by ProGrass.
Wisconsin boasted one of the most well-rounded defenses in college football this fall, and that was made possible thanks to the skill and versatility displayed by the Badgers' linebackers.
Wisconsin finished its 2015 season ranked third nationally in total defense, more than a dozen yards a game ahead of No. 4 Michigan at 268.5 yards per game allowed, placed fourth with 4.41 yards per play allowed, and tied for second with only 125 plays of 10 or more yards allowed.
The Badgers were exceptionally stout against the run, defending 396 carries while permitting a scant 1,240 yards (3.13 per carry) and 13 touchdowns. Each of those figures ranked among the top 20 nationally, and Wisconsin's total rushing defense and yards per carry allowed finished fourth this season. No team was stingier when allowing big plays either, as only 27 runs (one every 14.67 carries) gained 10 yards or more, the fewest in college football.
Against the pass, Wisconsin ranked seventh in passing defense (173.2 yards per game), second in pass efficiency defense (96.75), tied for sixth in yards per attempt allowed (5.7), tied for third in opponent completion percentage (49.1) and second in passing touchdowns allowed (seven).
Overall, Aranda and Tibesar's expertise helped create a defense that was one of just two to hold opponents under 14 points per game (13.7), tied for third nationally with just 22 touchdowns allowed, stood at 11th in third down defense (31.22 percent conversions allowed), and ranked 19th with just 76 percent of red zone trips resulting in points.
Linebackers accounted for the top three and five of the top six spots on Wisconsin's total tackles list. Freshman T.J. Edwards led the club with 84 stops, followed by senior Joe Schobert (79) and junior Vince Biegel (66). Sophomore Jack Cichy finished fifth on the team with 60 stops, and freshman Chris Orr ranked sixth with 46 tackles.Schobert also finished among the top 25 nationally with 9.5 sacks and tied for seventh with 19.5 tackles for loss. Cichy recorded three consecutive sacks during the Badgers' Holiday Bowl victory over USC late last month.
Schobert was named a First Team All-American by the Football Writers Association of America. He was also named a First Team All-Big Ten honoree, and Biegel garnered a spot on the league's third team.
Aranda served as Wisconsin's defensive coordinator in addition to coaching the team's inside linebackers. A California Lutheran graduate, he jumped into coaching at his alma mater in 1996 and made stops at Texas Tech, Houston, Cal Lutheran again, Delta State, Hawaii, and Utah State between there and Madison. Aranda has since taken the defensive coordinator job at LSU.
"Dave has an outstanding track record of producing some of the best defenses in college football. We've seen him up close and understand how difficult it is to have success against him," LSU head coach Les Miles said of Aranda. "Watching his defense play, they are tough to move the ball on and they are sticky in every situation. His defenses do a great job of getting off the field."
Tibesar graduated from North Dakota in 1996 and served as defensive coordinator at his alma mater in 2004-05. He also has defensive coordinator experience at Purdue, Kansas State and with the Montreal Alouettes. Prior to arriving in Madison in 2014, Tibesar spent the 2013 season as a defensive consultant with Northwestern.
The FootballScoop Coaches of the Year awards presented by ProGrass are the only set of awards that recognize the most outstanding position coaches in college football. The finalists (Don Brown [Boston College], Barry Odom [Missouri], Brian Ward [Bowling Green] and Aranda and Tibesar) were selected based off of nominations by coaches, athletic directors, and athletic department personnel. The prior winners selected this year's winner.
Aranda and Tibesar will be recognized at an event at the AFCA Convention next week.
Previous winners of the Linebackers Coach of the Year award are Bill McGovern (Boston College, 2008), Bob Fraser (Rutgers, 2009), Luke Fickell (Ohio State, 2010), Dave Huxtable (Wisconsin, 2011), Bob Gregory (Boise State, 2012), Jim Reid and LeVar Woods (Iowa, 2013) and Jeff Casteel (Arizona, 2014).
2nd Nationally - Scoring Defense
4th Nationally - Rushing Defense
3rd Nationally - Total Defense
2nd Nationally - Pass Eff. Defense
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