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Monday, May 4, 2009
Robinson, Nord make top new coordinators list


Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

There were no pre-planned head-coaching changes in the Big Ten this year, but six new coordinators join the league for 2009. Last season, teams like Northwestern and Minnesota saw the benefits of new coordinators as Mike Hankwitz and Ted Roof made major improvements on the defensive side of the ball.

College Football News' Robert Cirminiello recently ranked the top 20 coordinator hires during the offseason. Two Big Ten arrivals make the list in Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Robinson and Purdue offensive coordinator Gary Nord.

Robinson checks in at No. 11.

11. Greg Robinson, Michigan (defensive coordinator) -- Long before Robinson would was a washout as a head coach, he was widely considered to be a pretty good defensive assistant. Rich Rodriguez is holding out hope that a 10-37 record in four years at Syracuse didn't rob him of his passion for the game. With far more talent than he had at his disposal in New York, Robinson hopes to install an up-tempo system that'll get after the quarterback and create plenty of turnovers. He's being shielded from heavy recruiting, which was not a strength, in favor of his expertise as an X's and O's guy.

Nord rounded out the list at No. 20.

20. Gary Nord, Purdue (offensive coordinator) -- Nord has been brought on board by Danny Hope to ignite a Boilermaker offense that reached a low point in the Joe Tiller era a year ago. With more than a quarter-century of college coaching, he comes armed with experience and a reputation as one of the game's brighter offensive minds. His ability to recruit the state of Florida and comfort level with Hope from their decade together at Louisville and Oklahoma were also key factors in this hire being made.

Roof, who left Minnesota for Auburn in January, ranks No. 10 on Cirminiello's list.

I was a little surprised not to see Minnesota's new offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch or Illinois' new offensive coordinator Mike Schultz on the rundown. Fisch will facilitate a dramatic shift in Minnesota's offensive philosophy, as the team returns to a pro-style system after two years in the spread. Schultz hopes to continue Illinois' success in the spread and improve the team's rushing attack, which dropped off last fall after leading the Big Ten in 2007 and 2008.