Thursday, July 18, 2024

Deion Sanders, Colorado set to hire Cincinnati Bengals assistant Robert Livingston as defensive coordinator

Colorado v Arizona
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Colorado is set to hire Cincinnati Bengals safeties coach Robert Livingston as the Buffaloes’ new defensive coordinator, 247Sports reports. Livingston would replace Charles Kelly, who spent one season working under coach Deion Sanders in Boulder, Colorado, before leaving for a role at Auburn at the end of 2023.

Livingston has spent the last nine seasons with the Bengals. He will be tasked with turning around a Colorado defense that struggled mightily during Sanders’ first season at the helm. The Buffaloes surrendered 34.8 points per game — 124th among 133 FBS teams — on the way to a 4-8 finish. 

There’s reason to believe that Livingston could flip the script in a hurry given the success he’s enjoyed in Cincinnati. He worked hands on with a Bengals secondary in 2022 that surrendered the third-fewest passing touchdowns in the league as the franchise reached the AFC Championship Game. More recently, the Bengals recorded 17 interceptions during the 2023 season, which ranked eighth in the NFL

Livingston’s only past college coaching experience came in a two-year stretch from 2010-11. He spent 2010 on staff at Furman, primarily working with safeties, before working as defensive quality control coach at Vanderbilt the following year. 

The defensive coordinator position is just one of many roles that’s seen turnover on Sanders’ staff ahead of the program’s return to the Big 12 this summer. The Buffaloes changed offensive coordinators when Sean Lewis left to become the head coach at San Diego State, prompting Sanders to promote Pat Shurmur to that role. Shurmur had already taken over play-calling duties on offense late in the 2023 season as the Buffaloes struggled down the stretch.

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