NCF Nation: Kirk Botkin

Big 12 media days live: Day 2

July, 22, 2014
Jul 22
The Big 12 media days continue on Tuesday in Dallas, as Oklahoma's Bob Stoops and new Texas coach Charlie Strong each take the stage. Keep this page open throughout the day's proceedings as we bring you the latest from our reporters, who will cover all 10 teams at the event.

Coming out of high school in 2012, Kelvin Rainey was seen as someone who could have success on both sides of the ball. He played tight end at Yulee High in Florida, but it looked like his potential might be the highest at linebacker.

This spring, he's really getting a chance to test that theory after he was moved to weakside linebacker. Rainey redshirted last year in order to get bigger, stronger and more acclimated to college life, and was listed as a tight end. But with the Gamecocks losing their two-deep at each linebacker spot, the coaches felt he could help the team out more at linebacker.

"I told [coach Steve Spurrier] that I'd do whatever it takes to help the team out," Rainey told members of the media following Tuesday's practice.

So far, he hasn't disappointed.

Through the Gamecocks' first six practices, Rainey has registered five interceptions and appears to be getting more comfortable at his new position. His pure athleticism helps, but the fact that he used to play on offense has really come in handy. With that offensive mindset, he's able to tell if a play is going to be a run or a pass most of the time. It's kind of an unfair advantage for the youngster.

While he's coming along and adapting more and more in the short time he's shared reps at the weakside position, Rainey admits it was tough to move away from offense. There's more glory that comes with making a big offensive play and scoring touchdowns, but he's hoping to generate the same excitement on the defensive side of the ball this fall.

"It was hard, really," Rainey said of moving away from offense. "It's nothing like scoring a touchdown or getting the crowd [excited] out there, knowing that you're out there making plays to help your team win the game. But I can do the same thing, getting those interceptions. I can do the same thing scoring a touchdown out there [on defense]."

Rainey said he's been getting a lot more reps at linebacker than he did last year at tight end, but he really hasn't received much feedback from linebackers coach Kirk Botkin on how he's looked. Rainey said he's still in the learning process, so he isn't bothered by the lack of communication with his coach, but he expects his play to garner a little more attention soon.

"I'm still messing up out there," he said. "This is only my third week of practice, really. There are still things that I have to get done out there, but by the end of the day, I'll make him change his mind."
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier announced Friday that Joe Robinson will be the Gamecocks' new special teams coordinator and tight ends coach.

Robinson, who was the 2010 FootballScoop Special Teams Coordinator of the Year, joins South Carolina's staff after one season as North Carolina's defensive line coach.

He replaces John Butler, who left South Carolina this week to join Penn State's staff.

“We are pleased to announce Joe Robinson as our special teams coach,” Spurrier said. “He has many years of experience and his special teams had the No. 1 overall ranking in the SEC in 2009. Our special teams will be in good hands under coach Robinson, and we look forward to having him and his family become Gamecocks.”

Before arriving at North Carolina, Robinson spent three seasons as the defensive line coach and special teams coordinator at LSU. In 2010, the Tigers finished in the top 13 nationally in net punting, kickoff return average and punt return average. In 2009, LSU's special teams combined to rank No. 1 overall in the SEC, as the Tigers led the league in both kickoff coverage (44.5 net average) and punt returns (18.9). LSU was the only team in the league to rank among the top three in the conference in four special teams categories.

“I’m excited to be here and thankful to become part of Coach Spurrier’s staff,” Robinson said. “He’s done a great job with this program and my family is excited about this opportunity.”

Robinson's hire still leaves two vacancies on Spurrier's staff. He still has to find a replacement for running backs coach Jay Graham, who left for Tennessee, and must find someone to coach linebackers, now that defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson is the head coach at Southern Miss. Lorenzo Ward was promoted to defensive coordinator and will coach cornerbacks.

A few names to keep an eye on to coach South Carolina's linebackers are former Arkansas assistant Kirk Botkin and current Tennessee defensive line coach Lance Thompson, who coached linebackers in the past.

Air Force running backs coach Desmont Kitchings could also be looked at for the running backs job. He served as Vanderbilt's running backs coach from 2008-10, and offensive coordinator in 2010.