It's rare at the University of Texas for the focal points of an offseason not to rest squarely on its players. The stability that comes with having the same head coach for 16 seasons will do that to a program.
This spring appears to be one of those exceptions, though, as the Longhorns prepare to embark on their first spring practice under new head coach Charlie Strong and his staff, which consists of only one holdover from the Mack Brown era (Bruce Chambers).
Because of this, LonghornDigest is going to take a closer look at each member of the staff leading up to the first day of spring practice on March 18.
On Monday we took a look at defensive coordinator Vance Bedford.
Today we'll take a look at a coach with two stints on NFL staffs and recruiting relationships that span the country in some of the biggest hotbeds around.
Assistant coach at Woodham HS (Pensacola, Fla), 1986-87; assistant coach at Central HS (Phenix, Ala.), 1988-90; Restricted earnings coach at Troy State, 1991; graduate assistant at Arkansas, 1991; running backs coach at Utah State, 1992-93; wide receivers coach at TCU, 1994-97; offensive assistant/WRs/special teams coach at Dallas Cowboys, 1998-2000; RBs coach at Oklahoma State, 2001; WRs coach at Georgia Tech, 2002; tight ends coach at Georgia Tech, 2003-05; RBs coach at Memphis, 2006, RBs coach at Miami (Fla.), 2007-09; RBs coach at Arizona Cardinals, 2010-12; Passing game coordinator/RBs coach at USC; 2013.
The Robinson Digest:
Sometimes you just need that extra "umph" to turn something good into something great. Texas is hoping that's exactly what Robinson will be able to do for its stable of backs led by Malcolm Brown, Johnathan Gray and Joe Bergeron. He was able to overcome several injuries to running backs at USC last season and come away with two players that rushed for over 700 yards, two that rushed for over 300 and another that rushed for 236. He's been a part of two NFL staffs and has recruiting relationships stretched across the country.
How he differs from Porter:
First off, they are great friends. In Porter, you got someone with head coaching experience at the collegiate level whose almost extensively coached running backs, and that was well versed in the recruiting tactics of the South and Southeast. In Robinson, Texas is getting a coach who has dabbled in coaching RBs, WRs, TEs and special teams. He's also had two stints on NFL staffs. Something else he has that Porter didn't have much of upon arriving in Austin is time spent recruiting Southern California. It wasn't much time - Robinson was on USC's staff for less than a year - but the inroads he did make could pay dividends for if/when the Longhorns decide to pursue a recruit from that part of the country. He also has spent time recruiting in hotbeds like Memphis, Atlanta and Miami.
Player he will most improve:
Sophomore RB Jalen Overstreet
It peeked the interest of many when the ultra athletic Overstreet was moved from his high school position of quarterback to running back in the offseason a year ago. It seemed like the only logical move to make the most of his abilities. He had his moments – 9 rushes for 92 yards and two touchdowns in his debut against New Mexico State – but is far from a finished product. With known commodities in Brown, Gray and Bergeron returning, Robinson could look to Overstreet as his first real project at UT, and one that could be counted on considering past health concerns of Brown and Gray, who is coming off a gruesome torn right Achilles injury.
Recruits will love:
That he can sale the NFL experience to them just as Vance Bedford can to whomever he needs. He's worked with the best this game has to offer, which is a feat not all that common in other college running back coaches. He helped Beanie Wells become the first player in Cardinals history to run for at least 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2011. His experience coaching across the country could come in handy as well.
Predicting coaching future:
There isn't much that Robinson has yet to accomplish. He's never been a head coach, which isn't especially surprising given how successful he's been coaching running backs. He could have easily accepted a similar position in the NFL prior to accepting this position. He'll probably have that chance again but will stick at Texas for at least three seasons before contemplating a move.