The Buffs finally have their new DC.
This week, NFL reporter Ian Rapoport reported that Cincinnati Bengals secondary coach Robert Livingston would be joining Coach Prime’s staff as the team’s new defensive coordinator. Livingston succeeds Charles Kelley, who left after only one season in Boulder to take the same position at Auburn.
It’s an interesting move, as Livingston leaves Cincinnati after almost a dozen seasons with the Bengals in a variety of different positions. He joined the team in 2012 as a scout, covering mostly ACC and SEC territory, and worked his way up first as a safeties coach, and then the secondary as a whole. He also has experience coaching defense at Vanderbilt and Furman.
Throughout his time coaching the secondary in Cincinnati, the Bengals have had some of the better units in the NFL. In his first season with the group, the Bengals had one of the best scoring defenses in football, while also finishing third in interceptions. He’s played a major role in the careers of NFL stars like Pacman Jones, Jessie Bates, and Von Bell, all of who had some of the best seasons of their careers while he was their coach.
Given some of the other hires that have taken place since Coach Prime took over, the move doesn’t look so surprising. Like offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, Livingston obviously brings a bevy of professional experience to a school that’s looking to continue their transformation into a bonafide NFL feeder program. Though Sanders will almost certainly still have plenty of input on coaching the secondary, Livingston will be tasked with turning around a defense that was one of the Pac-12’s worst last season.
It’ll be interesting to see how much of what the Bengals do comes with Livingston to Boulder. Like Rapoport mentions, Livingston learned under Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo, who’s well known across the league for his innovative blitz designs and how he disguises pressure. At the same time, his players have talked about how much Anarumo likes to keep things simple, which helps avoid mental mistakes and allows guys to utilize their athleticism. The Buffs defense had one of the worst QB pressure rate (30.2%) and sack rate (6.5%) in FBS last year, and with talent like Travis Hunter, Shilo Sanders, and Cormani McClain all in the secondary, bringing in a coach who specializes in safeties and corners that bring pressure in exotic ways makes a ton of sense.