Meet the Staff: D Coordinator Robb Smith

Robb Smith had opportunities elsewhere after Greg Schiano left Rutgers for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In the end, the former special teams coordinator chose to stay with Kyle Flood and the Rutgers football team as Schiano's replacement for defensive play-caller. On a conference call today, Smith and Flood broke down the plan for the defense moving forward.

When Kyle Flood hired Dave Brock as offensive coordinator, the plan was to keep the scheme as similar as possible. In promoting Robb Smith to defensive coordinator, Flood expects to accomplish the same goal on the defensive side of the ball.

Smith, who called plays on special teams last year, replaces Greg Schiano as the play-caller of the defense.

"I couldn't be happier that he stayed on staff with us here despite some pulling and tugging from other places around the country," Flood said. "It was critical to me that we were able to keep our defensive system in place, the way that Rutgers played defense over the last seven years is as good as anybody in the country and I believe that we will be able to keep that tradition alive with Robb Smith going forward as our defensive coordinator."

Under Smith, Rutgers expects to keep the same speed and swarm mentalities on defense that generated a large number of non-offensive touchdowns and turnovers over the last two seasons. With a strong nucleus returning this spring, Smith hopes for the defense to not only stay the same, but evolve into a more dominant defense in Flood's first year as head coach.

"I think we're just trying to improve overall as a defense," Smith said. "One of the things that we're going to do, we're going to have the same core values of the defense that we've always had going. ... We're just going to look at the big picture and make sure that we're sound in everything that we do moving forward and get better on a daily basis."

Smith has experience calling plays based on his time as special teams coordinator at Rutgers and defensive coordinator of Maine before he came to the Banks.

"Robb has experience being a defensive coordinator so that's already been established," Flood said. "He's worked with the secondary and worked with the linebackers over the last three years. Working with the special teams, he works with just about everybody else. I don't think there's anybody who would have more familiarity on the whole than Robb would."

Smith showed as a special teams coordinator that he is capable of making in-game adjustments. According to Schiano, Jeremy Deering's game-changing touchdown return against South Florida was because of a late adjustment made by Smith.

Rutgers also made game-changing special teams plays in victories against Navy, Army and Syracuse last season.

"I think the offenses you face on a weekly basis are always going to provide you challenges, but I think it's going to be a lot of carry-over for the players," Smith said. "I think we have key players at every level of our defense. There's going to be a lot of familiarity there. We're just excited to get going in the spring and keep moving forward and improving on a daily basis."

Flood said that Smith, who has experience coaching multiple positions, will also play a role in developing all three levels of the defense during practices.

"I think the one thing that we're really fortunate, Robb Smith is the defensive coordinator and he's the one ultimately in charge of the position of the defense," Flood said. "As of right now, all three coaches we have on defense all have Division I coordinating experience. I think, as somebody who sits at the head of the table or somebody who sits at the head of the table as a coordinator, it's always good to know that the guy's underneath you have experience putting gameplans together, calling defense, being in charge of the big picture, so that whatever the actual individual positions end up being, you've got some flexibility."

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