After what feels like decades, Rich Rodriguez and THE University of Michigan have a new man to take control of what might have possibly been the worst defense in school history.
The resignation of Scott Shafer—who was just in his first year at UM—left Rodriguez searching for a new guy to fill the shoes left empty by Shafer.
It took well over a month, leaving some UM fans worried, for Rich to find "his guy."
Well he found "his guy" in Greg Robinson.
To some, this was a questionable hire, since many fans just point to Greg's (or G-Rob's) tenure at Syracuse; which honestly wasn't too good to say the least. His record was a lowly 10-37. Not too good at all.
But don't be fooled, yes he was the head coach, but that is a whole different level than being a defensive coordinator. Being a head coach requires much more than a defensive coordinator. Obviously Robinson isn't meant to be a head coach...
But he is an excellent coordinator and make no mistakes about that.
Here is what Robinson will bring to Michigan as a defensive coordinator:
- 30+ years of coaching experience (all but one season was spent as a defensive coach)
- 8-0 bowl record as a DC (Including 4-0 in the Rose Bowl)
- High energy levels and immense passion. A real player's coach that everyone loves.
- NFL experience as a DC with three different franchises (Denver,Kansas City,and NY Jets)
- Oh, and can't forget his TWO Superbowl rings while he was DC of the Denver Broncos.
But let us look at Robinsons' recent success, even at Syracuse (yes, he did do good there).
In 2003, Texas ranked 25th in total defense, while they were 58th in rush defense and 9th against the pass. They also finished 32nd in scoring defense.
In 2004, Robinson took over that Texas defense. They improved to 23rd in total defense in 2004. Their rush defense jumped up significantly, going from 58th to 16th nationally. Texas did drop from 9th to 58th in pass defense. However, as a unit, Texas jumped 14 spots up to 18th in scoring defense under Robinson.
It should also be mentioned that Robinson was Texas DC during their defeat of Michigan in the Rose Bowl that season.
In 2005, Robinson took over little Syracuse out of the Big East after just one year at Texas.
Syracuse defensive numbers were horrid in 2004, and that is being nice.
'Cuse ranked 101st in total defense, 86th in run defense, and 90th against the pass. All this while also finishing 76th in scoring defense.
In Robinson's first year at Syracuse the defense saw a complete turn around. They improved to 57th in total defense, and jumped to 21st in pass defense. However, they did fall to 97th against the ground game. Scoring defense also jumped up to 67th nationally.
It is Robinson's first year at Syracuse that should offer hope to the Michigan faithful. Michigan's rankings at the time of Robinson's arrival are sadly similar to that of the 2005 Orangemen— and look at what he did with that.
The Michigan offense should be much improved so the workload for Robinson should be a little less than at Syracuse, improving the odds of a more dramatic improvement.
Rich Rodriguez could not have gotten a better hire. The man was wanted by USC for Pete's sake! Pun intended.
With the aid of Robinson, the Michigan fan base can fully expect to see their team in a bowl game next year. They may even finish a little better than what most think.
Here are some quotes from Texas head coach Mack Brown and Rich Rodriguez in regards to Greg Robinson:
- "Greg's a high energy, creative, hard-working guy who has had success at both the NFL and collegiate levels," said Texas head coach Mack Brown,
"He's a veteran coach with a wealth of knowledge who the players really respond to. His season here in 2004 produced one of the best defenses in Texas history and helped set the stage for our national championship season in 2005." (ESPN)
- "Greg brings a wealth of experience as a defensive coordinator, both at the collegiate and professional level," Rodriguez said in a statement. "We are excited to have Greg, Laura and their entire family, join our Michigan family. I know that Greg will work well with our defensive staff, entire football staff and players." (ESPN)
This man is clearly a proven winner as a defensive coordinator. He brings great promise to Michigan as well as hope for a young defense after a disgraceful 2008 campaign.
Only one question remains... Can he recruit?
We will find out, but it shouldn't be too hard. Show the kids the hardware and they will come, right?
Go Blue! Looking forward to a good 2009 season.