NCAA Football

Will Muschamp Bringing Coaches from Florida to Auburn Should Have SEC Scared

Will Muschamp is rounding out his defensive staff at Auburn, and he's doing it with some important ex-Florida coaches that should have the rest of the SEC West—as well as every major program in the country—shaking in their cleats.

Specifically, the Tigers' new defensive coordinator has lured defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson—a former Auburn safety and All-SEC selection in 2002—from Gainesville to the Plains.

"I'm very excited about returning to Auburn where I played, received my degree, and was a graduate assistant," Robinson said in statement released by the university. "Auburn has provided me so many opportunities and I'm excited to be able to give back to a place that has meant so much to me."

Robinson and Muschamp crafted some of the best pass defenses in the country during their time with the Gators. Florida finished No. 2 in opponent quarterback rating in 2012, No. 8 in 2013 and was No. 11 before Saturday's Birmingham Bowl in 2014.

More than that, though, they proved capable of recruiting the state of Florida, where Robinson, a Miami native, has deep ties.

Former UF safety Josh Evans spoke with GatorCountry.com after Muschamp was fired and said that keeping Robinson—the recruiter who landed 5-star cornerbacks Vernon Hargreaves III and Jalen Tabor the past two seasons—was the key to sustaining success under new head coach Jim McElwain.

"He’s a great coach, young coach, understands the game," Evans said of Robinson. "It’s just great to have somebody like him who played in the NFL, understands the position and [is] fundamentally sound."

Robinson will coach cornerbacks at Auburn, replacing incumbent Melvin Smith. He is tasked with reforming a group that struggled under Smith and defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson, who was fired to make room for Muschamp.

But Robinson and Muschamp have always squeezed the most out of their roster. The Gators were "supposed" to take a big step back after Marcus Roberson, Jaylen Watkins, Loucheiz Purifoy and Cody Riggs all left the program in 2014.

Instead, they were about as good as ever.

Gus Malzahn and Rhett Lashlee have established an offensive culture at Auburn, a system on par with that of any program in the country. The Tigers are Oregon- and Ohio State-esque in terms of pace, creativity, player development and scheme. The pieces are in place for them to score 35 points per game again next season.

If Robinson can cobble together a half-decent secondary, this team should be a favorite in the SEC West. Alabama is losing Blake Sims, DeAndrew White and (one has to think) Amari Cooper, and LSU still doesn't have a quarterback.

The traditional divisional powers will have to rebuild their passing offenses next season. That is something the Tigers can take advantage of. And if they can't do it now, one has to think they can once Muschamp and Robinson have had a chance to land their own recruits.

This Malzahn-Muschamp marriage is looking better by the day.

Unless, of course, your team has to play against it.

 

Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter: @BLeigh35.

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