Defensive coordinator Robinson has been around the block--among other stops, he has been defensive coordinator for the University of Texas and the NFL's New York Jets, Denver Broncos, and Kansas City Chiefs. He was defensive coach for teams that have won four Rose Bowls and two Super Bowls. He is 8-0 in bowl games. His reputation is that coaches and players both respect and respond to him, that he is "high energy" and "creative," a coach who is able to adjust his defenses to the type of talent available,
Robinson has already shown flexibility and creativity in making adjustments to the talent he has and the trend in offensive football toward spreading the field. His brilliant but luckless predecessor, Scott Shafer, seemed most comfortable with a traditional defensive line, either 4-3 (four linemen and three linebackers) or 3-4 (three linemen and four linebackers, a la Schembechler). Robinson has created something he calls a "spinner": a player who sometimes lines up as a defensive end and other times flexes off the line and acts as an additional linebacker. This allows the defense to "zone blitz," attacking the quarterback with a linebacker or a safety while dropping the spinner into pass coverage.
Robinson also is likely to take Stevie Brown, a cross in ability between a linebacker and a safety, and use him as a wild card on defense. Sometimes, Brown will be in traditional coverage, as a nickel (fifth defensive) back. Other times, he may line up as an extra linebacker, in either "under" (the safeties) coverage or in helping to stuff the run.
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