It took some time, but Florida was able to finalize hires for its two vacant defensive back coaching positions in recent weeks.
Now, at least partially, we understand why it dragged out a bit.
Florida had zeroed in on former South Carolina defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson for one of the positions, interviewing him early in the search process according to an AllGators source. Previously UF's defensive backs coach from 2011-14, Robinson found success in developing cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, safety Matt Elam, and other members of Florida's secondary.
However, Robinson would eventually agree to terms with Miami and become the Hurricanes' defensive backs coach. Appearing recently on the Behind the U Podcast, Robinson shared that he was nearly UF-bound before signing on with UM.
“To be honest with you, I was gonna go to Florida," said Robinson. "I was going to go but [Miami head coach] Manny [Diaz] did such a great job, just in the hiring process of showing me who he really was. Talking to me about the staff, about the plans and expectations and all things.
"And at the end of the day, I want to win. I want to go to a place, who’s gonna have a chance to win and win immediately. And that can use my help as far as developing the secondary, the way that it needs to be developed.”
Florida would ultimately hire Wesley McGriff from Auburn and Jules Montinar from South Florida as defensive backs coaches. Both are qualified, McGriff owning a proven track record of developing NFL talent and Montinar viewed as a fast-rising, recruiting-savvy assistant coach.
However, the idea of reuniting with Robinson was one of Florida's first thoughts as it looked to replace cornerbacks coach Torrian Gray and safeties coach Ron English. And the Gators were very close to doing that, before Diaz swooped in and acquired Robinson's services - notably, for a smaller salary.
"I just got a connection with him, his wife Stephanie did a great job of communicating with my wife, and they went above and beyond, they made me feel comfortable," said Robinson. "So at the end of the day it didn't come down to the money, it didn't come down to that. We took less money to come, it didn't come down to that. It was the feeling of this is the place where, one, we can win and, two, We can win with good people."
At Miami, Robinson will be tasked with improving the nation's No. 65 passing defense (233.9 yards per game allowed) from this past season, while McGriff and Montinar will look to fix Florida's No. 100 passing defense (257.5 YPGA) moving forward.