Miami Hurricanes DB coach Travaris Robinson could help mentor kickoff returners

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY - SEPTEMBER 19: (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY - SEPTEMBER 19: (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Miami Hurricanes defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson was adept on kickoff returns as a player at Auburn in 1999 and 2000. Robinson returned 14 kickoffs for 316 yards with 22.6 yards average for the Tigers during the 1999 season. Those numbers dropped to 10 returns for 164 yards in 2000.

The Miami Hurricanes were 59th nationally in 2020 averaging 20.55 yards per kickoff return. The Hurricanes have not had a kickoff return touchdown since the eight lateral Miracle in Durham in 2015. Robinson never had a kickoff return TD in college, but his experience in college returning kickoffs could help Miami.

Senior wide receiver Mike Harley led the Miami Hurricanes in kickoff return yardage in 2020, while junior WR Mark Pope was first in average yards per return in 2020. Miami has to become more explosive on kickoff returns in 2021. The Hurricanes used to be feared when returning kicks throughout their history.

Special teams coordinator Jonathan Patke spoke about what Miami has to do finding someone to return punts and kickoffs in 2021. The Hurricanes were beyond anemic returning punts in 2020. Miami finished 123rd nationally averaging 2.2 yards per punt return last season. Punt returns need to drastically improve in 2021.

"“(We) Are trying to find that guy at punt returner especially with the issues we had with that last year. Tyriq [Stevenson] has been back there, Restrepo, [Charleston] Rambo, [Mike] Harley.We’re trying to get every guy as many opportunities to catch a live punt in practice and catch it out of the jugs prepractice, post practice, whenever we gotta catch balls.I like Tyriq back there now. He’s smooth, he’s natural, he did it in the past. And Restrepo is a natural punt returner as well. I like those two guys, but it’s a constant battle. We’re constantly rolling.Coach [Travaris] Robinson is doing a great job really detailing it out with those guys, not letting them relax at all, constantly back there with them coaching them how to catch punts. On kickoff returns, we’re looking for an electric guy back there…I like Tyriq back there.I like Harley, he has a natural feel of returning and finding the space. I always say kickoff return is more of an offensive play reading the play, so backs are usually good in that situation. Everything is filmed (a decision will likely be made) after spring.”"

Stevenson returned two punts for 37 yards in 2020. Rambo returned 10 kickoffs for 255 yards in 2020. The

25.5 yards per KOR were 23rd nationally

in 2020. During his career at Oklahoma, Rambo returned 13 kickoffs for 326 yards and a 25.1 average in three years. Finding quality returners will help Miami in 2021.

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Running backs Don Chaney Jr., Cam’Ron Harris and Jaylan Knighton will be players to watch this spring through the final scrimmage on April 17 and into August training camp. Knighton was the only one of the three to return kickoffs in 2020 with six for 119 yards. Miami has the talent to excel on returns.