“I think he’s really pressing, trying to make every play,” Kiffin said. “He needs to relax out there and get back to how he was against Air Force.”
After a strong first half in which he led the Owls on three touchdown drives, Robison managed to throw for only 37 yards in the second half of the Owls’ 25-24 loss at Middle Tennessee.
Kiffin said on Sunday he would consider starting either De’Andre Johnson or Rafe Peavey, the two players Robison beat in a fall quarterback battle, if they outperform Robison this week in practice.
“Obviously, we’re not playing great there, so yeah, anything to help us win,” Kiffin said.
A redshirt-freshman, Robison enjoyed a record-setting performance in his second game, throwing for a program-high 471 yards in a win over Air Force.
He hasn’t approached that kind of success since. Through five games, Robison’s thrown only five touchdowns against six interceptions. Four of those picks came in the last two games. An ill-advised Robison pitch against MTSU also became a turnover.
Both Johnson and Peavey moved the Owls when given the opportunity this season, with Johnson leading the Owls to three touchdowns in as many tries – doing so mostly with his legs. All of Johnson’s and Peavey’s appearances came against second and third string defenses.
FAU led MTSU 21-3 late in the first half and held a 24-10 second-half lead before losing their first Conference USA game under Kiffin.
MTSU scored on a fourth-down, one-yard touchdown run with 38 seconds remaining to pull within a point, then took the lead when Gaitlin Casey snared MTSU quarterback Brent Stockstill’s desperation pass on a two point conversion.
“If that would have been second or third down he would have thrown it away,” Kiffin said of Stockstill’s pass.
Still audibly frustrated following the loss, Kiffin decried a decision the officials made midway through the fourth quarter. A Robison run originally ruled a first down was overturned by replay, which decided that Robison came up short, leaving FAU with a fourth and short near midfield.
Kiffin called for an unsuccessful quarterback sneak, but said he based that call on a yardage marker that was never reset following the review.
“We think it’s fourth and inches, when it’s really fourth and a yard-and-a-half,” Kiffin said.
Reviewing the game video, Kiffin saw a tale of two halves.
“It’s hard to even watch,” he said. “It looks like two totally different games.”
Kiffin spoke with the players’ leadership group today about finding ways to win games.
“We’ve found every possible way to lose a game,” Kiffin said.
FAU welcomes Old Dominion to Howard Schnellenberger Field on Saturday for a 5 p.m. kickoff.