After productive spring, Andre Robinson has goal in mind for Penn State RBs moving forward
Penn State running back Andre Robinson, shown here during spring practice.
STATE COLLEGE – At 5-foot-9, 218 pounds, Andre Robinson looks more put together than he did during his days on the road to becoming Bishop McDevitt’s touchdown king.
Improvements since his high school days aren’t just physical, though.
Robinson was a key part of Penn State’s explosive offense under coordinator Joe Moorhead a year ago, scoring five times on just 29 carries and piling up 141 yards along the way, but there were instances when he couldn’t be sure why the offense was working the way it was, how a play call developed into a touchdown, or what made star Saquon Barkley, a classmate and onetime roommate, decide to do whatever he did on successful plays.
Gallery: Penn State spring football practice, April 19, 2017
To fix that, No. 6 spent the time between the Rose Bowl in early January and the start of spring practice in March watching not only his film, but also Barkley’s, to get a better grasp of the offense.
Thirteen practices later, the effort has paid off.
“I’ve had a couple days that weren’t my best, but I think I had an overall good spring,” Robinson said on Wednesday night.
“Last year I was kind on my toes and nervous, not fully understanding the why’s behind the what’s on every play, and I think that’s where I’ve made my biggest jump from last year.”
The evidence is in the pudding of the practice goals that position coach Charles Huff makes his running backs write down before each practice. The fourth-year assistant then ensures everyone, from Barkley to Robinson and the rest of the room, goes back and self-evaluates their tape to see if they hit the mark.
Eliminating mental miscues and fumbles are the two things Robinson focuses on most, and so far, so good.
“I’ve met my goals pretty much every practice,” he said.
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Barkley will still be the star this fall, and everyone knows that. Yet, the Lions backup rotation, which included Mark Allen last year, as well, and could be made up of more than those two this year, know that learning from No. 26 is as important as taking reps off his body and making something happen with them, whether that be in practice, during an open scrimmage like Saturday’s Blue-White game, or later in the year when the regular season rolls around.
It’s yet another goal for Robinson, one that’s shared by his teammates.
“We’ve been getting a lot of reps in practice; the more reps, the better,” he said. “Just learning from the reps, and Saquon watching [us], that’s good for all of us.
“All of the running backs; our goal is to be able to, if all three of us get hurt, that one person can take every single rep for the entire game, and we can win the game. That’s where we want to go from now to the start of the season.”
Penn State’s Andre Robinson took Saquon Barkley’s approach to asking questions