Travaris Robinson played football at Auburn and got his first coaching job at Auburn, but when Will Muschamp offered him a job at South Carolina, Robinson had little problem leaving his alma mater.
“It’s the best fit, and just like in recruiting when you’re dealing with a young man, it’s about the best fit for that particular person. This was the best fit for me and my family,” Robinson said. “My long-term goal one day is to be a head coach, and this is the next step in that. I want to be the best defensive coordinator I can possibly be, and who better to learn it under than Will Muschamp, a guy who I’ve got tremendous confidence in.”
Robinson was Muschamp’s defensive backs coach at Florida from 2011 through 2014 and again at Auburn last season, and he was one of the first hires Muschamp made after being named South Carolina’s head coach in December.
“I had to make a tough decision not to be a part of the bowl game at Auburn, but I thought it was in the best interest of South Carolina to get on the road recruiting and get some of those mid-year guys we were trying to get to come to South Carolina,” said Robinson, a safety at Auburn who was a first-team All-SEC selection in 2002.
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Robinson’s recruiting prowess is one of the reasons Muschamp was so eager to hire him. The 34-year-old Miami native was rated the nation’s No. 1 recruiter for the Class of 2014 by ESPN.com, but he is making a large jump in coaching responsibility with this move.
He worked as a full-time assistant at Western Kentucky, Southern Miss and Texas Tech before joining the Gators’ staff, but he’s never been in charge of a defense until now. The good news is he’s very familiar with the system run by Muschamp, who was Auburn’s defensive coordinator in 2006 when Robinson returned to his alma mater as a graduate assistant coach.
“Our scheme will be our scheme,” said Robinson, who had a two-year NFL career with the Falcons and Buccaneers. “That’s the scheme I grew up in. That’s the scheme I trust. It’s been very successful wherever we have been.”
The scheme will change based on the personnel available each year, Robinson said.
“We have to do a great job evaluating the players we have on our roster, and once we do that, we will kind of go from there on exactly what we want to be,” he said. “That’s one thing about us – we are not locked into any one thing. We are going to do what is the best fit for our players. If we have players who can play bump and run, we’re going to play bump and run. If we don’t have the ability right now to play bump and run, then we have to do something else.”
The makeup of the players will be more important than the makeup of the scheme, Robinson emphasized.
“I like guys with a winning pedigree,” he said. “I like guys who are physical and tough. Coach Muschamp talks about this a lot, a blue-collar mentality. We want guys who are going to compete and work hard, and do it the right way and be great representatives in the community.”