July 12, 2024

Amidst ongoing changes to its defensive coaching staff, the Florida football program has shown interest in bringing on a seasoned defensive assistant who has a previous connection with UF head coach Billy Napier, according to information obtained by 247Sports.

Sources reveal that the Gators are considering Ron Roberts for the position of inside linebackers coach to fill a coaching staff vacancy. This potential reunion between Roberts and Napier has been reported by 247Sports’ Phillip Dukes.

Roberts, boasting 31 years of coaching experience, with over a decade in collegiate football, spent the previous year at Auburn under coach Hugh Freeze. Before joining the Southeastern Conference with the Tigers, he spent three successful years at Baylor, culminating in the Bears’ impressive 2021 season, where they secured their third Big 12 Title and first New Year’s Six Bowl victory.

Auburn football rumors: Are Ron Roberts and the Tigers set to part ways?

In the 2021 season, Roberts’ defensive prowess at Baylor was evident as his unit led the conference in interceptions, turnovers gained, turnover margin, and defensive touchdowns. His immediate impact was felt in the 2020 season when Baylor’s defense, under his guidance, ranked second in the Big 12, allowing only 203.0 passing yards per game and ranking third with 17 forced turnovers.

Prior to Baylor, Roberts worked alongside Napier at Louisiana from 2018 to the end of the 2019 season. During his tenure, the Ragin’ Cajuns’ defense significantly improved, ranking 18th nationally in scoring defense in 2019 by allowing just 19.7 points per game. The team secured two consecutive Sun Belt Conference championship game appearances and achieved a school-record 11 wins in 2019.

If Roberts is hired by Florida, it would mark the third addition to the Gators’ coaching staff, following the departures of secondary coach Corey Raymond and Sean Spencer, along with Jay Bateman’s move to Texas A&M. While Roberts’ role is not finalized, there’s a possibility that his hiring could lead to Florida’s defensive coordinator, Austin Armstrong, working with the linebacker unit in the 2024 season. Florida is actively seeking a senior defensive mind with coordinator experience to enhance the team’s defensive performance, and they are also considering adding an experienced defensive analyst.

Recent additions to the coaching staff include Will Harris, who joined from the Los Angeles Chargers to coach the secondary, and Gerald Chatman, hired away from Tulane to coach the defensive line. Chatman expressed excitement about joining the University of Florida and is eager to contribute to the historic Gators football program. His recent experience at Tulane included notable achievements in limiting opposing FBS teams’ yards per carry and producing impressive statistics in tackles for loss, sacks, quarterback hurries, forced fumbles, and pass breakups during the 2023 season.

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