Greg Robinson Meets the Press

Michigan's new Defensive Coordinator Greg Robinson met with the media prior to the Michigan basketball game last night. Here's the complete transcript - on him pursuing the job, on how he decides what schemes to run, on getting on the road recruiting ...

Question:  What have your first couple of days been like in Ann Arbor and how have you spent your time?

Greg Robinson:  "It's been great – recruiting.  Yeah it has been two days of sunshine, but it's been great.  Meeting the staff, getting around the staff.  I got to meet the team yesterday, and I had an opportunity to talk to a number of the recruits and just getting around and kind of getting a feel for things.  So it's been great."

Question:  Is it difficult to walk in this far into the recruiting progress, especially as close to signing date or is it something that you're familiar with the process?

Greg Robinson:  "I don't know.  I don't know if it's normal or not, but it is what it is and I'm glad to be able to get onboard right now and see if I can help out in any way to finish the recruiting in a very strong fashion."

Question:  How does coming to Michigan compare to starting any other job that you've had in your career?

Greg Robinson:  "Well, I think of Michigan as an outstanding university, outstanding athletic program.  So I'm very excited to be part of it.  I've had a good fortune to be at some fine institutions in the past, but I don't think that Michigan takes a second to any of them.  It has a great history and tradition, so I'm excited about being a part of it."

Question:  On coming in and meshing with the rest of the defensive staff.

Greg Robinson:  "Well, I can say a lot of things to you but really I can give you a situation that I walked into when I went to the University of Texas.  They had people there that had been on the staff as well as a new guy coming that also had been a head coach for the last 24 years and it was really my responsibility to make it all kind of blend together.  It could have been easy for the guys that had been on the staff to be bent out of shape that they weren't in the position or what, but I think we did just a real good job of working together and creating a situation that I thought we worked well together, and I thought the defense really got stronger and stronger that year.  So I see it the same way.  I see three real fine coaches that I'm getting an opportunity to work with and just in the short period of time that we've been able to communicate and talk, I think we'll do real well together.  I don't worry about things like that.  I've been on a number of staffs and wherever I've been, I've always felt comfortable with the people that I've worked with.  I don't see any issue.  I just like the expertise of the guys that I'm going to be working with and more importantly I'm really looking forward to getting to know those players because that's where it comes down to." 

Question:  Was there a team meeting or anything yesterday or just meet the defense?

Greg Robinson:  "Yeah we had a team meeting yesterday, as I think Coach Rodriguez has on Friday afternoons and I was impressed with that.  For the middle of January to have all those players, I liked the attentiveness.  I liked Coach Rodriguez's approach to the team and just for my first day in there, I thought it was a great feeling when I left there."  

Question:  Did you get an opportunity to talk and say anything to the guys?

Greg Robinson:  "No, they just introduced me and that kind of was it –  I'll get my turn."

Question:  In terms of systems that you've run and like to run, how much of that is set and how much depends on personnel?

Greg Robinson:  "I think people are all worried about the system and I think that it's more about attitude.  We'll get a system together and it isn't like we're going to reinvent the wheel as far as defensive football, but I'm a believer that you fit your system to the talents that you have and philosophically I'm a believer that you utilize your strength and you hide your weaknesses.  So I think right now for me the most important thing is getting with these coaches and really studying and analyzing what we have and how to utilize it.  I don't think that if you're a 3-4, a 4-3, a 3-3, all those things…it's amazing how…I've used systems that I used to use the word, hybrid and it caught fire.  I had a guy named Jeff Lageman with the New York Jets, who was a big outside linebacker that I kind of went in between him being a linebacker and him being a defensive end.  Because that's how the old 3-4 teams always operated and people talk about the Steelers; I mean that style of defense…yeah there will be times that we'll look like that, when you can kick down and look like a four man front, but the next time you might look like a three man front, but it is really the utilization of people and trying to take advantage of their strengths."

Question:  So coming in this close to signing day what is your top priority right now?  Is it getting to know your players, analyzing the talent you already have, recruiting, what?

Greg Robinson:  "I think it's all of those things.  I think that I've been studying as much as I can about the recruits so that I can communicate with them and then I'm going to get on the road on Monday and jump in and help where I can.  The football side of things, we'll just continue to grab little bits and pieces here and there with the coaches until we get done with recruiting, but we get to talk periodically yesterday and today.  You know we'll just peck away at this thing, but in the meantime just kind of getting settled."

Question:  Are there some things that you can offer having been a headache coach to the staff in terms of that you learned and experienced?

Greg Robinson:  "You know I was asked that before and I think really it is premature for me to be able to say, oh yes I think I can or whatever.  It's really, it comes down to when situations occurs that I might be able to think of something that hmm, I experienced that, but I don't come into it…I'm coming in to be the defensive coordinator and to really get where we build our defense to the point that we're really excited and proud of that and anything else that comes along with it that would be great.  If I can contribute in some way to help Rich that'll be great, but I know I'm here to get the defense going – let's get it on."

Question:  What was it about Rich in your meetings with him before you agreed to come here that gave you a comfort level with him?

Greg Robinson:  "I developed a comfort level my first summer at Syracuse when we went to the Big East meetings and I found myself kind of gravitating to him and I noticed our wives got along well together and that went on each summer.  I like him.  I think he's straight up.  What you see is what you get.  I know he's a heck of a football coach, I competed against him.  You get to know people like that, so that's why I contacted him.  I called him and told him that I would like you to know that I'd like to work for you.  I don't know…as a matter of fact, he said that I thought I might be going off to pro football, there had been talk about that or whatever.  This is a great situation and it really starts with him, with a great school and a great storied football program."

Question:  Where are you headed to first on Monday for recruiting?

Greg Robinson:  "Ahh, I can't be giving that out.  I don't know, but I'll be leaving town."

Question:  When you contacted Rich, about when was that?

Greg Robinson:  "It was late in December.  It was late in December, just before the New Year, I think.  He said that he was going to wait until after the bowl games settled to kind of get going, and we talked just before the convention and talked about that we would visit at the convention."

Question:  How many feelers like that did you put out?

Greg Robinson:  "That was the one…there were some other things that people had talked to me about but that was the one call that I made."

Question:  Why was this the job you wanted compared to other jobs?

Greg Robinson:  "Well, I said to myself that I could see myself going back to pro football and that would've been fine.  But I said if there was something that was in college that still really excited me that I would be interested in staying in college.  I like college football.  I've been back five years and I wasn't there three days at Texas that I didn't call my wife back and told her that I didn't realize how much I missed coaching college football.  I had been gone 14 years and I enjoyed my stay in the NFL.  So when all of a sudden that I was analyzing things and I saw the situation at Michigan, I though you know what, I'm going to give Rich a call and that's kind of how it all went about."

Question:  What is Rich's approach with this position?  He has given you the keys to the car and said go do what you need to do or is this going to be collaborative with what you come up with and how you coordinate this defense?

Greg Robinson:  "I think that really what it's always is.  The word is coordinate and I never think of myself as just going to be one guy – no, no, no.  When it gets like that, it gets lonely.  You always need people to bounce things off of or they can express a thought or two that seem to be really appropriate at that time.  No, it's working together.  It's really all about that.  I think that that's good coaching."

Question:  Have you had a chance to watch some film from last season?

Greg Robinson:  "No I really haven't.  I've been so into the recruiting for two days and I was really trying to study these recruits so I had a better feel for them and I can just share more thoughts with them and that's really where I've been."

Question:  I don't know if this has been covered already, but are you going to be in the booth or on the field?

Greg Robinson:  "I'll be on the field."

Question:  Are you going to cover one of the position groups as well?

Greg Robinson:  "Yeah and we haven't really gotten down to discussing all that, but yeah, I'll be coaching players, I won't be walking around.  I've done a little of that and that isn't my style – no, no, no and I won't be walking, I'll be running – trust me."

Question:  You're making the transition from head coach back to coordinator position is that a difficult switch for you?

Greg Robinson:  "No.  It'll be great.  I don't worry about.  What it is, it is, but I'm excited about being the coordinator at Michigan."

Question:  Do you know the fight song yet?

Greg Robinson:  "Please (laughter) come on.  I've been knowing that since I was about three years old.  That's the truth."

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