Chapter 2: T-Rob Looking to Start New Career

Travaris Robinson has meant a great deal to the success of the Auburn program since beginning his playing career in 1999 and he hopes to contribute again this season in a new role.

Auburn, Ala.--During Travaris Robinson's playing career at Auburn from 1999-2002 he was known as a team player who was willing to do anything asked of him.

His hard work and open mind led to a two-year stint at safety with the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL before he tore his ACL in a preseason game in 2005.

Following the injury Robinson decided he wanted to get into coaching and gave Auburn running backs coach Eddie Gran a call. Gran, who recruits the south Florida area for Auburn, had recruited Robinson years earlier and the two had kept in touch while Robinson was in the league.

"We have a very close relationship," Robinson says. "I called him and I was telling him about my football and my knee injury and how they were scared to sign me back. He was basically asking me, ‘What do you want to do?' I was like, ‘Coach, I want to coach.' He said, ‘Well, we just got a new defensive coordinator in (Will Muschamp). I think this will be the perfect time for you.'"

While Robinson was with the Falcons he kept a close relationship with the Auburn program, so it was a no-brainer for them to accept him as a volunteer assistant for the 2006 season.

"Ever since I came to Auburn I felt like Auburn was my home," he explains. "I always wanted to be a part of this thing and the fellowship with the guys. I always came back to games when I was available to come back. I feel like Auburn is my home away from home.

"My knee is 100 percent now," Robinson continues. "Sometimes you can't live on the past. I had a good time in the NFL. Growing up my aspiration was to play in the NFL and I had that opportunity. There are a lot of guys who didn't have that opportunity. I'm happy with what God did for me, but maybe it's time for me to move on.

"Right now I'm enjoying this coaching thing and hopefully we can go to the SEC Championship. As a player I never won a championship. As a coach maybe I can win one."

Known as T-Rob around the program, Robinson had the experience of playing at the next level and also had experience during his time at Auburn at receiver, cornerback, safety and several roles on special teams. Head coach Tommy Tuberville says that Robinson has what it takes to one day be successful in the coaching business.

"He is good to have because he has been through it and he can talk to guys about it, especially during the tough times about how to work through it, how to keep your focus and concentration while you are out here," Tuberville notes.

"He is going to be a good coach. He is working to learn as much as he can about coaching from good guys. Probably the next few years he will be somewhere coaching himself whether it is high school or college."

Tuberville also remembers Robinson, who was a part of his first recruiting class at Auburn, for saving the day in their debut at Auburn. The Tigers were tied with Appalachian State 15-15 with just over four minutes remaining in the game and facing a third and 13 play. The shotgun snap went over quarterback Ben Leard's head, but the alert freshman wideout recovered the ball at the Auburn four-yard line.

Auburn went on to win the game in the final minute.

"He made the biggest play probably for me in the first game of my career here recovering that fumble against Appalachian State," Tuberville says. "He was a pretty head's up player. He has a lot of common sense about football. I think he can teach a lot these guys a lot about football."

Robinson notched 18 receptions for 174 yards that season, but was moved to cornerback as a sophomore to shore up depth in the secondary. His senior season in 2002 he was moved to safety where he blossomed into an All-SEC performer.

Robinson is shown on a golf course in Orlando, Fla., in December 2002 with head coach Tommy Tuberville prior to Auburn's bowl game victory over Penn State.

Robinson started playing his best football at the end of his senior year. He saved the game against Ole Miss in 2002 by picking off an Eli Manning pass in the end zone, which would have tied the game with less than two minutes remaining.

Perhaps his biggest performance that Auburn fans, and Alabama fans for that matter, remember from Robinson is in the 2002 Iron Bowl. He laid the wood on Alabama receivers and runners all afternoon that day in Bryant-Denny Stadium as Auburn rolled to a 17-7 victory. He was credited with 10 solo tackles and two assists.

It was a corner-turning victory for the Auburn program and the first of four consecutive wins in the series versus Alabama.

"I think right now we're bringing a lot more of the talented athlete than we had due to the success we had and the undefeated season," Robinson says of the current state of the program. "A lot of guys are starting to come and we've got a very talented bunch."

Travaris Robinson is shown during his playing days as an Auburn Tiger.

Just like during his playing days, Robinson says his job this year with the staff is doing whatever they ask him to do.

"I interact with the safeties more than anything," he says. "I chart their progress and I do a lot of office work sometimes. My job is basically like a jigsaw puzzle. I just fit in. If it's something I've done then I'll be able to do it. I'm not real good with computers right now--they're trying to teach me."

When Robinson went to the NFL, he was 16 hours short of a degree in communications. Like many former Auburn athletes, he decided that while he's working with the staff this year to go ahead and finish his school as part of Operation Follow Through.

"I've always wanted to be a coach," he says. "I didn't think I would do it this quick. Due to my injury and all that it kind of pushed me toward this. I know I had to finish school, and I wanted to see if I'd really like it. I really have a passion for it. A lot of people play, but they can't coach. I think I can do both with a little learning from Coach Muschamp and the good system that he has.

"I'll be able to pick up a few things and hopefully I can get on as a coach one day," Robinson adds. "I love Auburn and hopefully one day I can be an official coach here."


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