BOCA RATON – The percentage of quarterback Chris Robison’s runs that conclude with either a big hit from a defender or an awkward attempt at giving himself up haven’t gone unnoticed by his FAU teammates.
“Kevin McCrary, he actually came up to me, he was like, Do you know how to slide?” Robison said, referring to an Owls’ defensive tackle. “I was like, I do, but it just comes to the point where I don’t really think about it because I see four people get on me so quick I’m like, oh shoot. Then I get hit pretty hard.”
A redshirt freshman, Robison didn’t run often during the season’s first couple games. In recent contests, however, Robison’s shown that his legs can be an effective offensive weapon.
He carried the ball 10 times for 37 yards against UCF two weeks ago. Last week Robison ripped off a 45-yard rushing touchdown as part of a 59-yard rushing night at MTSU.
“It’s not a big deal, me getting hit, but I know I’ve got to be more safe because I want to be able to play the whole year,” Robison said.
Some of the punishment Robison received couldn’t have been avoided. Early at MTSU a defender grabbed his face mask, twisting around Robison’s head.
“That play was crazy,” wide receiver Jovon Durante said. “Just seeing that, just knowing that we’ve got a field general at quarterback, he’s tough.”
Robison emerged from a three-way battle during fall camp as the Owls’ starter. With the offense sputtering at times through the first five games and looking particularly ineffective in the second half of the loss to Middle Tennessee, Kiffin acknowledged on Sunday the possibility that he could make a change at the position based on this week’s practices.
On Thursday during his weekly radio show on ESPN West Palm, Kiffin announced that Robison would remain the starter this week and that, after reviewing video from Saturday’s loss, Robison’s performance wasn’t as poor as he originally thought.
And with Saturday’s opponent, ODU, surrendering 219 rushing yards per game, Robison is likely to charge downfield with the ball at least a few times. He’ll probably take a hit that will make coaches cringe.
That kind effort, however, garners respect from his teammates.
“I see that’s him giving 100 percent, to be honest,” right tackle Brandon Walton said. “I can understand being smart, but he’s doing what he has to do to get the first down.”