Texas Football: Everything You Need to Know About New DC Greg Robinson
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Manny Diaz is out, and Greg Robinson is in as the Longhorns' new defensive coordinator. What that means for Texas remains to be seen.
Predictably, the reaction to Diaz's firing has ranged from "pleasantly surprised" to "irrationally overjoyed."
The response to Texas handing his duties over to Robinson, however, is a little more varied. Some are jumping for joy, while others are wondering what the waterboy has going on that is so much more important.
This is all understandable. Diaz had been terrible since he rode Will Muschamp's players to the best defense in the Big 12, and Robinson's past guarantees little more than an appearance on the field.
Perhaps this review of Robinson's dealings since the last time he was the Texas defensive coordinator will provide a little more clarity.
His Previous Stint at Texas
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The best-case scenario for Greg Robinson would be to repeat his success from 2004, his one season as the Longhorn defensive coordinator.
With a roster stocked with six all Big 12 players, Robinson was able to employ a conservative scheme that yielded great results. His defense finished in the top-25 nationally in scoring defense, total defense and rushing defense, allowing only 3.2 yards per carry.
Robinson's trademark skill in his lone season? Half-time adjustments. As ESPN's Jake Trotter points out, the Longhorns outscored their opponents 105-3 in the second half during their 2004 season en route to a Rose Bowl victory.
Longhorn fans would be ecstatic if Robinson could coach his 2013 defense up to even remotely approaching these achievements.
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It is easy to look at what Robinson did in 2004 and predict success in his second tenure. What he did after Texas is what will have fans squirming in their seats.
Riding the wave from his stellar 2004 showing, Robinson was hired as Paul Pasqualoni's replacement at Syracuse. He brought a whole new staff, a new schemes on both sides of the ball and the school's first-ever seasons with double-digit losses. After going just 10-37 (3-25 in the Big East) and getting railed in this College GameDay feature, Robinson was fired with two games left in his fourth season.
This happens all the time. Great coordinators do not always make equally great head coaches and are best served getting back to their roots. That is what Robinson tried to do when Rich Rodriguez hired him to be his defensive coordinator at Michigan.
But Robinson face-planted at yet another proud program. In his first season, his defense ranked No. 82 in the nation and ninth out of 11 Big 10 teams. In his second and final season with the Wolverines, Robinson's group ranked last in the conference in total defense, scoring defense and passing defense.
Maybe this is why Mack Brown wanted to see how Manny Diaz panned out before replacing him with his old coordinator.
Hiring as an 'Analyst'
"I don't want it in any way for [Manny Diaz] to feel like he has anyone looking over his should at all."
Those were Robinson's words when Texas hired him to be a football analyst in the player personnel department back in July. Normally such a hire would spur serious questions, but Texas had already hired Patrick Suddes from Alabama to run the brand new department and would later add Bob Shipley in a similar capacity.
The plan for Robinson was to serve strictly as film analyst from his home in Los Angeles. As ESPN's Max Olson reports, he only planned to even come to Austin for fall camp, meetings and home games.
Even if Robinson was unaware, head coach Mack Brown clearly had a contingency plan that required his old coordinator to commit to much more face time with the team.
The Task at Hand
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Shortly after one of the worst losses in recent Longhorn history, Mack Brown announced that he was replacing Manny Diaz with Robinson. With less than a week to prepare, Robinson is tasked with preparing for a potent Ole Miss offense.
Every Taysom Hill run against the defense was another nail in the Manny Diaz's coffin. A season after giving up the most yardage in Texas history, the "defense" was giving up a school-record 550 rushing yards and 41 points to an offense that could not break 20 a week before. The quarterback Hill, knee brace and all, easily ran for 259 of those yards himself.
Robinson, who advised Diaz to stack the box, now has to pick up the pieces in time to contain Ole Miss' potent rushing attack. The No. 25 Rebels are tied for 32nd in the nation, averaging 239 rushing yards per game with two mobile quarterbacks. Running back Jeff Scott, who is averaging 10.4 yards per carry, rushed for 95 against Texas in 2012.
Robinson has been hard at work since he was hired, declining to conduct any interviews in favor of rigorous preparation. Whether or not he has any success slowing down the Rebels on Saturday, it is apparent the Longhorns are getting his best effort.
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Between Ole Miss and the rest of the season, there is no way of knowing what to expect from Greg Robinson and his defense. All anyone knows is that it had to happen.
Robinson arrives in Austin with a lot of question marks. He has had no hand in recruiting these players, hardly any time to interact with them and certainly has never coached any of them. He also has not been part of a successful program since his last stop in Austin.
However, he cannot be any worse than his predecessor. BYU's Taysom Hill was running straight line sprints to the end zone, proving Diaz had no better handle on the defense than he did a year ago.
What Robinson brings, along with his two Super Bowl rings, is a chance. Past failures aside, he has proven he can make adjustments on the fly, that he can give a good offense a shot to win and that he can turn talent into results. Neither of those things can be said about Diaz.
Calling this what it is, Robinson's promotion is a pure act of desperation. Either it pans out just in time for Big 12 play, or it turns out to be the last straw for Mack Brown. In any event, the fans will get what they want.