Appointing Greg Robinson (right) to defensive coordinator has saved Mack Brown's season.
Texas Longhorn defensive coordinator Greg Robinson has been a major piece in one of the biggest turnarounds in the country. Next season is still in doubt for this staff; though, fans know things could be much worse than a long-term marriage with Robinson.
The Longhorns are 4-0 in the Big 12, tied with Baylor for the conference lead. Did anybody see that coming? Please provide timestamped evidence if you did.
A suddenly unstoppable running game has helped, but the man who deserves the most credit for this turnaround is, without question, Greg Robinson.
With Robinson roaming the sidelines, it has been night and day for Texas. Throw out the Ole Miss game in which he had less than a week to prepare, and he has been stellar.
In Big 12 play, Robinson's defense has not allowed an opponent to get more than four yards per carry, having just held TCU to 1.9 yards a pop. Compare that to the 2012 defense that did not hold even lowly New Mexico under four yards an attempt.
It doesn't stop there. Just seven weeks into the job, the new defensive coordinator has shown a surprising affinity for getting the most out of his personnel. Most notably, star defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat.
In five games under Robinson, Jeffcoat has six sacks and an interception on his way to two nods as the Big 12's Defensive Player of the Week. The Bednarik Award semifinalist is playing as well as any pass-rusher in the country under his new coordinator.
Jeffcoat is far from the only defensive player excelling under Robinson. Oft-criticized Steve Edmond is coming off his two best games of the season since Robinson moved him to weak-side linebacker, while little used safety Leroy Scott showed out against TCU.
The formula for success with Robinson has not been some magic, complicated scheme. Instead, he has scaled back Manny Diaz's defense to pure assignment football based around being fundamentally sound.
As a result, this is a team that finishes tackles and is flying to the football like it's full of four- and five-star athletes. Which it is, in case anybody forgot.
In summary, the Longhorn defense is stopping the run, tackling in space and winning football games under Robinson. In seven weeks, he is doing things with this defense that Diaz could not do in just over two years.
Oh my goodness - what could have been had Mack Brown decided to change DC's at Texas after the 2012 season. #RobinsonWithASpring— Sean Adams (@thatsean) October 27, 2013
With those results, nobody should be unhappy or surprised if Texas decides to move forward with Robinson in the long term. However, that does not depend entirely on him.
The Mack Brown carousel is still turning, and his status is still up in the air with roughly half the season to play. Texas still has No. 6 Baylor, No. 10 Texas Tech and No. 18 Oklahoma State on the schedule. A loss in either of those games pulls Texas off the Big 12 radar and puts Brown right back on the hot seat.
Even winning-out might not save Brown's Longhorn career. A successful season could provide him the perfect opportunity to leave on a high note, and his replacement would certainly look to replace his newly appointed defensive coordinator.
Regardless of what the rest of the season brings, fans should certainly want Robinson back if his guys continue to play like this. The difference he has made could not be more obvious, especially since they know firsthand how the wrong hire can ruin perfectly good talent.