One of the greatest linebackers in UTEP history, Robert Rodriguez returned to El Paso as defensive program coordinator for the 2008 campaign. He coached the linebackers from 2010-12 and now serves as the nickels coach and assistant special teams coordinator.

The Miners' top two tacklers in 2013 were both freshman safeties. Devin Cockrell, a true freshman, posted 76 stops and Dashone Smith, a redshirt freshman, added 69. Cockrell registered four games with double-digit tackles on the year, including 13 (11 solos) at Rice.

Autrey Golden sparked UTEP's special teams effort last season, averaging 27.6 yards per kickoff return to rank 10th nationally. He tied for second in the country in kickoff returns for touchdowns (two) and is already UTEP's career leader in that category (four) with two seasons of eligibility remaining.

In 2012, Rodriguez's unit excelled. Josh Fely paced the team in total tackles (112), becoming the first Miner to reach triple digits since 2009. Fely's efforts were worthy of honorable mention All-Conference USA accolades. Fellow linebackers Aubrey Alexius (66 tackles) and A.J. Ropati (58) finished fourth and fifth, respectively, on the squad in stops.

During the 2011 season Rodriguez worked with Jeremy Springer, who began his UTEP career as a quarterback and ended it as the team's leading tackler (70 stops). Fely, who transferred in from San Diego Mesa College, made an immediate impact. He ranked third on the team with 61 tackles. The Miners also received a highly productive year from Isaiah Carter (54 takedowns), who garnered honorable mention All-Conference USA honors for the second year in a row.

In his first year as a full-time assistant, Rodriguez coached four of the Miners' top seven tacklers, as Jamie Irving (79), Carter (75), Royzell Smith (72) and Anthony Morrow (67) combined for 293 stops.

Rodriguez ranks in the top-five among UTEP's all-time leading tacklers with 443 stops, including 33 for losses. He led the Western Athletic Conference in tackles in three of his four seasons at UTEP. Rodriguez was appointed the WAC Defensive Player of the Year in 2004 after being credited with 121 tackles and 16 tackles for losses.

Following his stint with the Miners (2001-04), Rodriguez spent time with the Carolina Panthers and Tennessee Titans in the NFL (2005) before playing for Cologne in NFL Europe (2006) and Calgary in the CFL (2006-07).

He was a prolific running back at Montwood High School in El Paso, earning All-City Offensive MVP honors as a senior when he rushed for 1,690 yards and 25 scores.

The El Paso native and Montwood High School graduate is married to the former Holly Taylor, who played soccer for the Miners from 2000-03 and is currently an El Paso attorney. He graduated from UTEP in 2004.

Robert Rodriguez

Robert  Rodriguez

Assistant Special Team Coordinator/Nickelbacks/Saf.

Alma Mater:
UTEP 2004

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