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Coaches who seek “power over players” are “probably struggling” in the new era

Baylor’s head football coach Dave Aranda achieved success in 2021 in just his second year as FBS program manager, leading the Bears to a Big 12 Championship Game win and a Sugar Bowl win. Those performances came just a season after winning two games in the 2020 campaign. Aranda has also not hesitated to bring more performance to his players since arriving in Waco, Texas, and the third-year Bears head coach warns that the old-school trainers – so to speak – who don’t adapt to the times, might have bumpy roads ahead.

“I think (the state of college football) is good, but it’s certainly changing,” Aranda told Peter Burns on Friday That Paul Finebaum Show. “I think the coach who in the past has taken his frustrations out on players, who has taken his fears out on other coaches or his insecurities on players and later called it coaching – I think that coach is probably struggling. We’ve all been around them and probably been coached by them. I think there’s an opportunity for this coach to grow and really kind of transcend, man.

“I think that’s all a good thing. But there are two kinds of difficulties. It’s about stepping out of your comfort zone and what comes with staying in your comfort zone. I think it could be the ability for the coaches to be open minded and not see it like, ‘I have power over players.’ But I work with guys. I see them as people. I let them flow in as people. That better person will make a better player. I think this view will be the view. So there’s going to be some growth there for coaches and I think that’s a good thing.”

Aranda perhaps best exemplified this mindset when he decided on a starting quarterback leaving spring football and named Blake Shapen QB1 over 2021 as main starter Gerry Bohanon. Aranda’s ultimate decision came with him sacrificing the quarterback’s depth when Bohanon hit the portal shortly after to find a new home in time for the 2022 campaign. But Aranda said it’s a freedom he owes to Bohanon given the situation, having worked as the Bears’ QB1 a year ago.

“I know everything is bigger than me and I know it’s about the players,” Aranda said. “With Gerry Bohanon, there would be no 2021 season without Gerry. There wouldn’t be a Big 12 championship without Gerry. There would be no Sugar Bowl win without Gerry. There really wouldn’t be an ‘I’ without Gerry When I look at all the sacrifice and selflessness and the work ethic and the caring factor and everything Gerry put into it, you can’t ask for more from a man than what he gave.

“And then being on the other side and having a competition and not coming out with (the job) he deserves my respect and service and love because of the person he is and how he handled everything. … I’m glad he’s found a place and he’s going to do well. The other part is we can all say things and talk about them, but when it really comes down to doing things, people know. Your players know it. This is talk and this is real.” . So I think everything has to be right.

Aranda’s early years as Baylor’s head coach come at a time when collegiate athletes are more influential than arguably at any point in history. The advent of the NCAA transfer portal in 2018 gave athletes a new and improved way to explore their opportunities elsewhere, and the introduction of the one-time transfer rule last spring has only further eased the burden on players pursuing careers at other schools. Perhaps the biggest development then came in the summer of 2021, when NCAA-governed athletes will be able to benefit from Name, Image and Likeness (NIL).

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According to Aranda, not all coaches have welcomed these guidelines. Louisiana Monroe head coach Terry Bowden made it clear in early June made him believe the concept of amateurism disappears when players land NIL deals that include six-figure support and lavish perks like luxury vehicles. Bowden said those who benefit from such deals “become a professional athlete.”

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