Miami has had made some serious adjustments and hires to their defensive staff this off-season, and perhaps none bigger than the addition of new defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson. What T-Rob brings to The U is a proven track record in both recruiting and also developing.
While all of Miami’s defensive backs look to benefit from T-Rob’s coaching, I believe none will gain more in 2021 than safety Bubba Bolden.
Bubba Bolden was everywhere Saturday night. pic.twitter.com/2CFs4H8IEE— ₜₐₜₑ (@perctate) September 23, 2020
Bolden had a breakout season for the Hurricanes in 2020, finishing the year with a team high 74 tackles, 1 interception and 4 forced fumbles, and was named Second-Team All-ACC.
Bubba Bolden is the best safety in the nation. pic.twitter.com/flSBDdhLc7— Robby Espin (@CanesAccess) September 27, 2020
Through the first four games of the year, Bolden was playing better than any safety in college football, earning multiple ACC Defensive Back of the Week honors in that short time. During that stretch, most Canes fans believed he would declare early for the NFL Draft at the end of the year.
Bubba Bolden against FSU: 4 tackles, 2 TFLs, 1 interception, 1 PD and 1 forced fumble.— Marsh (@hurricanesmarsh) September 29, 2020
However, a dip in Bolden’s play and inconsistency through the second half of the season derailed those thoughts. Still, he returns to Miami as the Hurricanes most talented player on defense, as well as one of the leaders.
Safe to say we know what we’re getting week in and week out with Bubba Bolden. Max effort on every down.— Art (@CaneFilms) October 12, 2020
Our scheme asks our safeties to do so much and Bubba is up to the challenge every time.
10 tackles, a forced fumble & two blocked kicks against Clemson. pic.twitter.com/k4iG338RZW
Robinson has had much success in developing defensive backs, and has produced several safeties, taking them from a recruit to an established college player, and then turning them into NFL ready products.
When Robinson coached at UF from 2011 to 2014, he did just that. In Robinson’s first year, he helped Matt Elam take his game to the next level as a sophomore in 2011, and then turned him into a first-team All-American as a junior in 2012. Elam declared early for the Draft after that year, where he became a first round pick.
He also coached Keanu Neal for two seasons in 2013 and 2014 in Gainesville, who also later became a first round draft pick. Everywhere he has gone, T-Rob has done a superb job at getting the most out of his players and maximizing their potential.
In particular for Bubba, he needs to improve in terms of pass coverage for starters. In an article from the Miami Herald from back in November, there was a stat shared that said Bolden had allowed a 121.2 passer rating in his coverage area. Another area of improvement for Bolden are the angles he takes.
Tight window throw from Hendon Hooker. Bubba Bolden was in nice postponing but a well placed football for the big play. pic.twitter.com/m2Y5RGYrr1— Ryan Roberts (@RiseNDraft) December 14, 2020
I’d love to see Bubba Bolden go back to Miami for one more season. He’s a very talented player but he’s still putting it together. With another year of experience, I’m convinced he has the skill set to warrant a first round selection.— Ryan Roberts (@RiseNDraft) December 29, 2020
Bolden has Sunday talent, with the tools that NFL scouts are looking for in a pro safety. He's proven he can be very versatile at safety, with a good balanced skill-set, he just needs a little more experience. Let’s remember, 2020 was Bolden’s first full season playing college football. Bolden does have two seasons of eligibility remaining, though I believe there’s a good chance this will be his last year at UM.
Miami Safety Bubba Bolden (@BubbBolden) Highlights— JustBombsProductions (@JBP_Official) January 26, 2021
Bolden is a player who teams have to worry about on every snap because he's all over the field. He makes plays from sideline to sideline. Expect even bigger things from him next season
Full Video : https://t.co/u9OzvKwCMm pic.twitter.com/RsYcNFoPAo
While T-Rob’s arrival to Miami will most definitely help in recruiting, as well as developing younger talent in the secondary, I think his first big coaching win in Coral Gables will be with Bolden. Former DB coach Ephraim Banda did a fine job bringing Bolden to this point, now it’s Robinsons job to fine tune his skills and polish him into the kind of player the entire country knows he can be.