Colorado Buffaloes head coach Deion Sanders is expected to add Cincinnati Bengals secondary coach Robert Livingston to the Buffaloes staff as the new defensive coordinator, according to NFL insider Ian Rapoport.
Livingston is reportedly in Colorado today speaking with Sanders, and he is expected to join his ranks soon. Livingston has been a part of the Bengals coaching staff for nine seasons, eight of which he has been the secondary coach. In the last six seasons, Livingston has specifically focused on safeties. Livingston started as a scout for the Bengals in 2012.
Former Cincinnati Bengals secondary coach Robert Livingston will be running a defense for the first time under Deion Sanders
New Colorado Buffaloes defensive coordinator Robert Livingston will be running a defense for the first time. His title as the secondary/safeties coach for the Cincinnati Bengals is the closest he has ever gotten.
Livingston, who is a disciple of Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo, saw a steep drop off in secondary production after the departure of Bengals safeties Vonn Bell and Jessie Bates.
The Cincinnati Bengals ranked 17th in passing defense in 2022, and they finished with the 28th-best passing defense in 2023. The Bengals went from the 7th-best overall defense to the 31st-best overall defense in that same time period.
The loss of Bates and Bell also saw the Bengals go from the fourth least passing touchdowns allowed in 2022 to 20th in 2023. Livingston was working with two first-year starters in Dax Hill and Jordan Battle this season, so it is possible the Bengals secondary could’ve improved if given time to develop. Backup safety Nick Scott was one of the biggest liabilities on the team this season.
JOSH ALLEN GETS NICK SCOTT ON THE PUMPFAKE AND POINTS AT HIM AS HE CROSSES THE END ZONE
— Arye Pulli (@AryePulli) November 6, 2023
Livingston can be credited with a large part in the development of Bates as he was coaching the Bengals secondary since Bates was a rookie. Bates left for the Atlanta Falcons, but he is now considered one of the best safeties in the NFL. Bates was a second-team All-Pro this season.
Deion Sanders and the Colorado Buffaloes could use help on the defensive side of the ball from Cincinnati Bengals secondary coach Robert Livingston
Deion Sanders and the Colorado Buffaloes ranked 124th in points allowed this year by allowing 34.8 points per game. Only three teams in the entire nation were worse than the Buffaloes when it came to total defense. They allowed over 450 yards per game.
Pass defense was particularly bad for the Colorado Buffaloes as they allowed 276.9 passing yards per game, which was good for 127th in the country. Their 2.3 passing touchdowns per game allowed was 128th in the country.
Sanders and the Buffaloes have one of the highest-rated recruits in the country on the defensive side of the ball in Travis Hunter. Hunter played both ways this season, and one reason for the hiring of Livingston could be the improvement of one of the most talented players on the team.
Deion Sanders’ son, Shilo Sanders, also plays in the Colorado Buffaloes secondary. His position could’ve played a large role in Sanders hiring a coach who specializes in the coaching of safeties. In an article from Sports Illustrated, Deion recalls a time in which he was upset with Shilo against the Colorado State Rams.
“Shilo walked by me and instead of saying “Coach”… he said ‘Dad, [is] the defense going out on the field first?’ and I said ‘Boy, y’all ain’t stopped nobody all day! I’m putting your brother out there, because I know what he’s [going to] do,” Deion Sanders recalls.
If the Buffaloes could’ve held every team to under 40 points this season, they would have reached a bowl game. Deion Sanders and the Colorado Buffaloes are looking to improve upon their 4-8 record in 2024, and they hope former Cincinnati Bengals secondary coach Robert Livingston can help.