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Greg Robinson Named Defensive Coordinator

Greg Robinson, recent ex-headman at Syracuse, will reportedly be named Michigan’s Defensive Coordinator. GERG comes to the Wolverines after a failed 4-year stint in upstate New York. Prior to that, he was Texas’s Defensive Coordinator in 2004, preceded by stints with two NFL teams.

NFL DC
Robinson was the Defensive Coordinator of the Denver Broncos from 1995-2000, and served the same position with the Kansas City Chiefs the next 3 years. In Denver, Robinson’s defenses ranged from stellar to middle-of-the-pack. Of course, Robinson won Super Bowls in Denver in 1998 and 1999. His defenses there had a bizarre trend of alternating years being good against the run or against the pass. In Kansas City, Robinson’s defenses could be described as little other than abject failure. The Chiefs organization decided to focus on drafting and exceeding on offense, while somewhat neglecting the defensive side of the ball.

Denver Broncos
Year Total D Rush D Pass D Scoring D
1995 15 23 9 17
1996 4 1 10 7
1997 5 16 5 7
1998 11 3 26 9
1999 7 19 8 11
2000 24 7 31 23
Kansas City Chiefs
Year Total D Rush D Pass D Scoring D
2001 23 27 14 23
2002 32 24 31 28
2003 29 30 20 19

Texas DC
Robinson spent only 1 year as the defensive coordinator at Texas, and therefore it is important to compare that year (highlighted in burnt orange below) to the preceding and following year. Robinson slightly improved the defense overall in his year as defensive coordinator, but the year after he left, the defense suddenly became awesome. However, it is important to look at everything in context. The Longhorns’ offense was the Vince Young-led terror in 2005, and in 2004 Young was still developing as a quarterback, giving the opposing offenses more opportunity to possess and move the ball.

Texas
Year Total D Rush D Pass D Scoring D
2003 25 9 58 6
2004 23 16 58 18
2005 10 33 8 8

Syracuse HC
Following his tenure in Austin, Robinson became the head coach of Syracuse. His 4-year run in upstate New York was terrible (10-37), and it became clear that perhaps his skill set was not cut out to be a college head coach. Robinson was criticized for being a poor communicator and all-but-refusing to take the recruiting aspect of coaching seriously. However, Robinson was sent out with a bang as his Orangemen defeated the heavily-favored Irish of Notre Dame in a snowy affair in November.

Michigan DC
Wolverines fans hope that Robinson’s shortcomings as a head coach do not translate to his ability to be a defensive coordinator in college. His pedigree as an X-and-O guru (the NFL doesn’t hire just anyone, I promise) certainly is welcome. However, ex-DC Scott Shafer, coincidentally the new DC at Syracuse, was also known as a solid defensive theorist, but he was doomed by a lack of chemistry with the existing coaches on Michigan’s staff. If Robinson has similar issues, will Rodriguez realize that maybe his assistants from West Virginia aren’t the best position coaches for Michigan, or will the clocik have run out on his tim in Ann Arbor.

Pros: NFL experience (recruits love it, even if you can’t coach in colege to save your life: see Charlie Weis), history of success in NFL and (briefly) in college as a DC.
Cons: Epic fail as Syracuse HC, poor DC with second NFL squad, reportedly lacks great communication skills, not much of a recruiter, age.

Posted under Analysis, Coaching, Football
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11 Comments so far

  1. Ann Arbor 1879 says...

    Your cons say it all. Jesus H. Christ. I am going to sit and hope, but my first opinion screams SHIT! Let’s hope for my sanity that my first opinion doesn’t mean shit.

  2. Dale says...

    there must be a reason or us looking at these dumb-ass blogs every 30 min. must be the experts!!!!!!!!!

  3. Santoro says...

    Hmm.. looks like RR is bringing in a tried and true, proven program-killer to finish the job he has started. Makes perfect sense to me.

  4. 97Alumnus says...

    as pointed out at those who stay he produced a high pressure d at every one of his stops as a DC… including with the Chiefs

    “Last season (2003), Robinson’s Chiefs’ defense produced 36 sacks (T-6th/AFC), 25 interceptions (2nd AFC/3rd NFL) and forced 37 turnovers (T-3rd AFC/5th NFL). Kansas City led the NFL in turnover margin with a +19 advantage in that category. In 2001, the Chiefs registered 34 sacks, 18 interceptions and forced 31 turnovers. They led the AFC and ranked third in the NFL in turnover margin that year.”

  5. Voice of Reason says...

    When GR coached the Chief’s Defense he was hired by coach Dick Vermeil who is a great judge of talent for both players and coaches. He does his homework. If Vermeil trusted his defense to GR then GR is a sound defensive coach.

    We know that GR didn’t run his own defense at Syracuse because he had a coordinator, plus a lack of talented players. I think we should give him the benefit of the doubt for the first couple of years. He’s a proved DC.

  6. I know nothing says...

    That Chiefs D was horrible, with horrible players. And to try and equate his failure as a HC at a program firmly stuck to the bottom of the toilet before his arrival, is a bit of a stretch. So we know he is not a program builder, and a horrible head coach. But DC’s don’t need the same skill set as a HC, andcertainly do not need to be program builders. I am not sure that this hire is a fantastic one, but I absolutely am in a wait and see mode.
    And I do not consider this as a make or break hire for RRod either. If in two years this experiment has failed, then replace him.

  7. Tim says...

    To be fair, Syracuse was absolutely not “stuck to the bottom of the toilet before his arrival.” His predecessor, Paul Pasqualoni was fired for losing a bowl, and in only year at Syracuse didn’t make a bowl game. Syracuse has always been a middle-of-the-pack or better Big East team, most of it when the Big East was a much better conference. It was Robinson’s lack of recruiting that doomed the Orange.

  8. Steve says...

    Les Miles WILL be the head coach at Michigan.

  9. Steve says...

    …Should’ve been more in previous comment.

    Why they didn’t try to bring in Russ Huesman is something I don’t understand. His defenses are consistently in the top tier and his recruiting abilities are well known. He was also available but took the head coaching job at UT-Chat on Dec 22.

    Instead RR has chose to recycle someone who’s record of accomplishments is dubious at best.

  10. West Texas Blue says...

    Why do people always say “well why didn’t they try to bring in so and so?” Sorry, but things don’t work like that. People were dumb to think that any NFL assistant would come be the DC at the pay we were offering (I’ve heard $250K), which is peanuts to them.

    The new DC had to work with the existing position coaches; there were plenty of handcuffs for anyone interested in the position. There’s plenty of qualified coaches out, but not alot of them are or will be interested in Michgian (location, family, health, etc.)

    The recruiting ability of an DC is overblown; two top DCs, Jon Tenuta and John Chavis, dislike recruiting and don’t even really do it. Who cares if Robinson can recruit or not; just let him take care of the X’s and the O’s.

  11. Voice of Reason says...

    Listen to John Borton’s interview on WTKA’s Ann Arbor Big Show and get some feed back on the GR hire. It sounds encouraging for the Wolverine Nation.

    http://www.wtka.com/index.php?fuseaction=home.podcasts_sel&id=903

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