After opening the season at Oklahoma, where the The Mesquite, Tex., native signed out of Horn High School before transferring to FAU, Robison will take the field on Thursday in Denton, Tex. for a showdown against North Texas played only 50 miles from where he played his high school ball.
But it’s not the hometown cooking or the football-crazed atmosphere Robison is looking forward to the most.
“Really it’s just the air,” Robison said. “It’s a little bit different than Florida air. It feels like home.”
Robison’s looking for a change from South Florida’s often oppressive heat and humidity. He’s also eager to perform infront of his biggest cheering section of the year. About 40 Robison friends and family made the trip from Texas to Oklahoma. This week that number is expect to jump to more than 50.
“There’s going to be a lot of people there to support me and I want to play good for them for sure,” said Robison, a redshirt freshman.
Robison’s been inconsistent in his first season as starter. He’s completing 64 percent of his passes, a statistic inflated by the number of jet sweeps run by the Owls – plays where the quarterback scoops the ball about a foot forward to a receiver running behind the line of scrimmage toward the sideline.
Even though he didn’t throw a touchdown pass against Western Kentucky last week, that game was arguably Robison’s best of the season. He competed 17-of-21 passes for 239 yards, including a couple of the kind of downfield shots that have been missing from the Owls’ offense much of the season.
Six Robison-led drives ended in points – four touchdowns, two field goals – and another produced a missed field goal.
For the season Robison’s still thrown more interceptions than touchdowns by a 10-8 margin. That’s one of the reasons coach Lane Kiffin started platooning De’Andre Johnson with Robison two weeks ago.
Against FIU Johnson entered in the second quarter and led the Owls to 35 points, leaving only when FAU had the game firmly in control.
In last week’s victory over WKU Kiffin used a similar substitution pattern but returned to the stronger-armed Robison for the two-minute drill before halftime and stuck with him for the second half. Robison piloted the Owls to 24 second-half points and FAU won going away.
“The best option was to repeat the week before, which worked for us,” Kiffin said. “Chris starting and De’Andre coming off the bench and playing well, so we went with the same format.”
Johnson completed three of his four passes, tossed one interception on a play where he was hit as he was throwing, fumbled once but FAU recovered, and had a rushing touchdown called back because of a controversial low block penalty call on Devin Singletary.
Earlier this week Kiffin didn’t sound like a coach prepared to make a change in the rotation.
“No touchdowns and an interception, but 20-of-25 for 260 [passing] yards is pretty productive,” Kiffin said.
Robison said that he and Johnson rotated with the first team in the same manner on Tuesday – the Owls lone day of true practice this week – that they did in the two weeks prior.
Having played high school football in Texas during November, Robison is ready for temperature that could drop into the 30s during the game.
“I don’t think any weather is an advantage because I think any quarterback can play in any weather,” Robison said. “It will feel good though. I’ve missed it, being over there. It’s hot every day [in Boca Raton]. Being there in the cool is going to feel good to me, that’s for sure.”