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

“The biggest thing that you look for is a very good linebacker group. You’re looking for leadership from that standpoint. You’re looking for a bona fide corner; you’re looking for guys that can pass-rush. We have some guys like that. The biggest thing from our standpoint is to continue with that. It’s going to be a long season. You want to make sure if something was to happen to your top guy that there’s not a major drop-off. You want to continue to get people into the program through recruiting. You want to keep developing guys. There are some similarities to the past, but you just never know. There are some positions we have to be very good at to be a good defense. We have a couple guys who have a lot of experience under their belts, so hopefully they can play at a high level.”

What is your defensive philosophy going to be in 2013?

“The biggest thing that I’ve always thought from being a coordinator is to give people multiple looks. I want to be a little bit complex that way, but also from the standpoint of keeping the concepts simplistic if that makes sense. Everything has to tie in together. You can do a couple different things with it, but you can’t get outside the concepts of what you’re doing. Try and keep it simple concept-wise, but try and be multiple with your looks. That’s what I’ve always tried to be.”

Utah State had a dominant defense in 2012 and ranked among the top 15 nationally in numerous categories. Can that success be duplicated in 2013?

“It’s hard to tell because there are so many factors that go into it. In any position, offense or defense, there’s a certain type of camaraderie you have as a unit and group. When you lose people off of that, you might lose a piece of leadership, you might lose a piece of the puzzle. We’ll continue to build to that, but you just don’t know. Some of it is based on the people you play. Some of it is based on people continuing to grow or having big years. We’re striving to be as good as we can be. Then when you go to compete against other teams, you just let it play out. I don’t care how good you are; every year is different. There are always different pieces to the puzzle. That’s human nature. All we’re trying to do is be as good as we can when we’re in meetings or on the practice field together. If we do that, we’ll stay on course. If we lose sight of that, who knows what will happen. We’ll find out better as we get into fall how tight this group will bond outside of just lining up and making plays. There’s a lot more that goes into it.”

What can Aggie fans expect from USU's defense moving forward with you as defensive coordinator?

“Hopefully they’ll see a passionate group out there that loves to play the game. The biggest thing that we need to do as a staff is make sure that our established play-makers are ready to make plays. That’s one of the biggest things we’ll hone in on. That’s why you have spring football. I would hope that it will show up and that these kids will play with a lot of emotion and passion. I expect that out of this group. It’s who they are.”

What must happen in 2013 for Utah State to be successful on defense?

“I don’t know if you can really answer that. If you ask the offense, they want to score points. You ask a defensive guy and he’ll say don’t let them score points. It sounds really simple, but there’s a lot that goes into that. It’s about making sure we set up the field position for our offense, not letting people make explosive plays on us, and to limit points. You can get consumed in statistics and that part of it, but at the end of the day, if we have one more point than them, we win. I think you’re judged off this the same as last year. Winning 11 games is extremely hard to do. You come in there and say you’re not going to get consumed in all of that. Let’s just keep them out of the end zone and if they get close enough, make sure they’re taking field goals. That’s kind of the approach we take.”

Are there percentages or goals that you will set for the defense this year?

“We will, but that will be based on what we see on film of our opponents. Some of them might be things that look good, but when you play against an explosive offense you’ll have to be realistic. We won’t set a straight goal going into it; it will be by opponent. The biggest thing will be to limit the things they do very well. If you do that, if you make them play a different kind of game plan to you, the majority of the time you’ll be in decent shape. We’ll sit down and go over it on a Thursday or Friday and have set goals going into a game, then come back on Sunday and find out how well we did.”

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