How Successful Can New Texas DC Greg Robinson Be with the Longhorns' Personnel?

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How Successful Can New Texas DC Greg Robinson Be with the Longhorns' Personnel?
Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Demoting Manny Diaz from defensive coordinator one day after being knocked around by BYU was a different move for Texas coach Mack Brown

As was his approach to defending Diaz's replacement, Greg Robinson. 

Robinson, who as of last week was an analyst for the program, is coming off a pair of unsuccessful stints as Michigan's defensive coordinator and Syracuse's head coach. Though Robinson's one year as Texas' defensive coordinator in 2004 was good enough to land him the job with the Orange, his return to the Longhorns hasn't been met with generally favorable reviews. 

So Brown has gone on the offensive. 

"When he went to Michigan, they weren't very good," Brown said of Robinson via David Ubben of Fox Sports Southwest. "We have good players on defense. We just have to play better."

There's already been some talk about the scheme Diaz ran against the Cougars vs. what Robinson had suggested. This, from Orangebloods on Sunday, sheds some light on the matter: 

A source close to the situation told Orangebloods.com Robinson's suggested game plan for BYU was to put 8 and 9 defenders in the box, play man coverage on the outside and dare BYU quarterback Taysom Hill, a much better runner than passer, to beat Texas through the air.

One of the biggest problems against BYU - in addition to Diaz basically playing a 4-2-5 scheme (this is what Texas opened in) and even a 5-1-5 scheme - was that the defensive line continued to shoot gaps instead of a base, read-and-react, gap control defense.

But it doesn't matter what formation a defense operates out of—4-3, 3-4, 4-2-5, whatever—if they can't tackle. And Texas didn't exactly display solid fundamentals last Saturday.  

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This was a problem that dated back to 2012 when the Longhorns defense was at its worst. Can Robinson correct it? He's been busy getting back to work coaching the players, but the Week 3 game against Ole Miss is quickly approaching. 

And the Rebels are catching the Longhorns at a great time. 

Texas' defensive two-deep is filled with veteran guys who have seen a lot snaps over the years. If they're as talented as Brown says they are, and if Robinson is as smart as Brown feels he is, the Longhorns' defense should in theory look nothing like it did last year. 

Maybe that transition happens this week. Maybe it happens in a month. Or, maybe it slowly gets better as the year progresses. But it starts with tackling and not being out of position. 

Whether the defense is filled with former 5-star guys or 2-star guys, it matters not. This is a big project for Robinson. More jobs may depend the success or failure of it, too. 

Ben Kercheval is the lead writer for Big 12 football. All quotes obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise. You can follow Ben on Twitter @BenKercheval

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