For Dave Aranda, Baylor’s “secret sauce” fits perfectly with his philosophical approach.

A question to Baylor football coach Dave Aranda can be as much about the verbal journey as it is about the eventual conclusion.

There’s more chance for a philosophical detour than standard football clichés and X and O speeches, as Fox Sports’ Joel Klatt found out last month in a video interview.

After discussing Baylor’s season, Klatt asked how Aranda handled employment rumors elsewhere. It was there that Klatt discussed his conversation with his team and a detailed retelling of the story of the Velvet Bunny, a British children’s classic about a stuffed animal that longs to be real.

“I did a lot of coaching interviews,” Klatt said. “I’ve never heard anyone refer to the velvety rabbit. But that’s about the brand for you, coach.

The philosophical approach may not work in a lot of places, although winning helps any fan base. In Aranda’s case, that certainly fits with Baylor things.

The No.7 Bears (11-2) head to the Allstate Sugar Bowl to face No.8 Mississippi (10-2) on Jan. 1, a remarkable turnaround from a 2-7 record in the first season. from Aranda.

Aranda recently called Baylor, the college and the sports department, a “secret sauce” for whatever he wants.

“So just for me that lines up too well and it pushes me to be a better person,” Aranda said. “And I think that growth and that ability to not be outward focused but more inward focused has always been a real conviction for me. I think Baylor is helping me in this pursuit.

Although his name has been suggested for a handful of high profile jobs, all of Power Five’s openings have been filled and Aranda remains at Baylor.

He is considering a contract extension beyond the original deal he signed after replacing Matt Rhule in January 2020, just after leading the defense of national champion LSU.

“It suits me,” said Aranda. “I’ve never really looked on the outside, I’ve always been very concerned with what’s on the inside.”

Sporting director Mack Rhoades said the school and Aranda verbally agreed to a contract extension with the only delay being the proper paperwork and approvals.

“We’ve been in a good position for weeks, months,” Rhoades told SicEm365 radio last week. “He told me that’s where he wants to be and that’s where he’s fit and where his family wants to be. I trusted that. If you know Coach Aranda I would take the coach at their word for any contract I had to change.

The level of confidence has spread to the team, both to veteran players and to those very early in their careers.

“He came in, did the dirty work early on, changed a lot of things in the program for the better, and it’s great to see the success he’s having this year,” said fifth-year linebacker Terrel. Bernard. “We respect him so much, and he will never take the credit for it, but a lot of credit goes to him.”

Redshirt first-year quarterback Blake Shapen replaced injured starter Gerry Bohanen for the wins over Texas Tech and then Oklahoma State in the Big 12 Championship game.

He credited the culture that Aranda installed.

Good vibes don’t mean there won’t be more rumors and speculation.

Aranda acknowledged this before the Big 12 Championship game, claiming he had spoken to his players twice about it.

“I think they know me pretty well and know that eccentricity and everything that I have, I think, fits right in here,” said Aranda. “So I think I hope we got past some of that.”

Find more Baylor coverage from The Dallas Morning News here.

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