USU football: Todd Orlando brings experience at defensive coordinator

By Megan Allen

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, April 10 2013 10:45 a.m. MDT

LOGAN, Utah – With 17 years of coaching experience under his belt, Todd Orlando, USU's new defensive coordinator, knows what it takes to run a successful defense.

Orlando, who spent the past two seasons as defensive coordinator at Florida International, also spent 12 seasons at the University of Connecticut, six of which held the defensive coordinator title. He has coached in eight bowl games during his career and has been a part of two conference championships.

With such a resume, he said he is excited to be a part of the Aggie program and hopes to build off the defensive success the team has seen. Heading into the final week of spring practice, Orlando discussed his experiences with the team so far and the direction he hopes to take it in the future.

How have things gone during your first few months on the job and what you have been focusing on thus far?

“It’s been great. The people in this office have been great. Football is football once you start to do it, but the day-in and day-out of it is what changes. The guys have been great with me. Coach (Matt) Wells has helped me out tremendously as far as what he wants as a head coach. Everyone is a little bit different. It’s been good. The football part is pretty universal. With the help of the guys on the staff that know what’s going on, it’s been great.”

Watching film from last year, what impressed you about Utah State's defense in 2012?

“They played extremely hard. They played smart. They’re physical and they enjoy playing. That was the cool part about watching the cut-ups from last year. You watch them fly around to the ball and be very emotional. They play with passion and I’m really impressed with that.”

Three weeks into spring practice are there any defense players that have really impressed you?

“The guys that were legitimate players have all done a great job. They’ve continued to progress. There have been some guys, I won’t get specific with names yet, because I don’t like to do that until we get into a situation where they’ve established themselves because I’ve seen that backfire.”

Even though Utah State lost four quality starters on defense, there appears to be plenty of depth on the defensive side of the ball. Would you agree with that?

“One of our goals was to come in and really establish some depth. There have been guys who have stepped up in some spots and gotten better. Right now we’re just hoping they finish up spring ball the way we want them to so when we get into summer and fall camp we can see how they’ve really progressed. You really won’t know exactly what you have until you get out of fall camp. You get out of fall camp and you get a pretty good idea if a kid is going to continue to develop or continue to play at a high level. You kind of hold off judgement until you get through the summertime. You see how they work out through the summer when they’re away from us. Then you go into fall camp and figure out if a guy is going to be able to play winning snaps for us. There have been a couple spots that we’ve been impressed with and have come along better than we anticipated.”

How does this defense compare with what you coached and other teams you played against during your coaching career in both the Sun Belt and Big East Conferences?

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