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Utah State football: Todd Orlando at defensive coordinator makes sense for Aggies

Published February 18, 2013 2:41 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Utah State finally pulled the trigger on a long-awaited hire at defensive coordinator. And in Todd Orlando, the Aggies can see some past accomplishments that they want to make their future.

On Orlando's coaching resume in the last two decades, his experience as Connecticut's defensive coordinator stands out in particular. He went to the Fiesta Bowl, a BCS-level stage that Utah State hopes it can be in the hunt for in the next few years.

Coach Matt Wells said many times that he was looking for the right fit at the position, someone who would blend in with the culture in Logan while also bringing some heavyweight experience to the table. It would appear nearly two months waiting for a hire paid off big for Wells and company.

Florida International is not known for football success, but Orlando helped bring the Panthers to a bowl game in 2011, only the program's second in school history. The team had a program record eight wins that year.

Before that, Orlando helped build Connecticut from Division I-A newcomer to a Big East contender. For 12 years, the Huskies gradually grew into prime-time football, winning the conference in 2007 and 2010 when Orlando was defensive coordinator.

He's also mentored players who later moved on to the NFL. The latest is Florida International safey Jonathan Cypien.

That kind of experience is in line with what the Aggies seek for themselves. Headed into the Mountain West, Orlando's experience as a program builder could help spur Utah State into high gear. There's no arguing USU lost a valuable coach in Dave Aranda, but Orlando could fill in leadership over a number of defensive position coaches who have decided to stay put.

The true measure of the decision will only come on the field, but the logic of bringing Orlando into the fold is sound.

Kyle Goon

kgoon@sltrib.com

Twitter: @kylegoon —