Thursday, March 29, 2007

Greg Robinson (not the Syracuse version), Big Sexy and more Sinatra

Got a chance to speak with Greg Robinson, who along with Scott Lutrus is competing for the starting job at the Husky linebacker position. Robinson, like Lutrus, was a pretty solid offensive player in high school. He played quarterback, running back and wide receiver, all in the same season, compiling over 1,000 total yards of offense.

He turned down offers from Wisconsin, which recruited him as an athlete, as well as offers from Penn State and Rutgers to play defense to attend UConn. He says this spring has been hectic given all the changes on the Huskies defensive scheme.

"It's learning a lot of stuff," Robinson said. "Before I was learning, too, but now we're learning more as we're playing. It's learning as we go on. I'm making mistakes, but I've made some progress too."

At 6-foot-1, 216 pounds, Robinson has fallen behind Lutrus in the battle for the strong side linebacker spot this spring because Lutrus, at 6-2, 227, is bigger and stronger. Until Robinson catches up physically, Lutrus will have the inside track on the job.

"He'll have to get stronger," Randy Edsall said. "The weight room will be his best friend until August. He needs to put on more weight and get stronger."

Robinson agrees.

"Scott's definitely bigger than me," he said. "I need to play with more speed to play the type of defense we use here. Right now, it's going to be who makes the least mistakes and who the coaches feel will get the job done. If I was the only one, I probably wouldn't mind making mistakes. But I know if I make a mistake and Scott doesn't make mistakes, then that's part of what's going into the coaches decision. The competition helps me a lot. "

The competition has been healthy, and Edsall said he's impressed with the intensity the two bring every day. They may be relatively raw, they may have a lot to learn, and Robinson may have plenty of work left in the gym. But neither are the types of players who take a single down off and go full throttle at all times.

Robinson has shown a good head for the game, with the ability to read a developing play.

"Greg has a knack so far, just looking at him, for making some plays," Edsall said. "He might not look the smoothest or most athletic, but he is a football player. He has great playing speed. Sometimes you might say 'look at that', but he finds ways to make plays."

A few other nuggets

  • Walk-on fullback Luke Cox quit the team Wednesday, Leigh Torbin of the UConn sports information department confirmed. That leaves redshirt freshman Anthony Davis as the team's lone fullback this spring. Incoming freshman Anthony Sherman joins the mix in August.
  • The right side of the offensive line -- guard Donald Thomas and tackle Mike Hicks -- looked pretty darn impressive during drills. And I'm not being biased toward our New Haven area guys.
  • Defensive end Lindsey Witten didn't practice. His jersey and pads were lying on the sideline, so it seemed it was a last minute decision to sit out. Edsall didn't even know why Witten wasn't out there. “I don’t know, maybe the sun was in the wrong position,” Edsall said. “I have no idea. He came to practice today, I don’t know if there’s anything wrong with him. I’ll have to see what the trainers say. Maybe he didn’t want to practice today. Let me say this, there isn’t anything serious as far as I know.”
  • Lawrence Green did his sprints to end practice, though he finished in last place -- behind even Dan Ryan and his rolled ankle. Green had a pretty bad limp as he left the field at the end of Thursday’s practice.
    “He got kicked,” Edsall said. “Looked like he got kicked in the shin. There was just a big knot. He’s one of those big uglies. That’s part of it. He calls himself “Big Sexy”, I call him “Big Ugly.” If you’re a lineman you better expect to have some bumps and bruises and those sorts of things. It’s not like you’re a wide receiver. You’re not supposed to look pretty.”
  • Read about the safeties and how Edsall is helping them learn in tomorrow's Register.
  • Neil Ostrout of the Connecticut Post couldn't believe I didn't rank "Strangers in the Night" among my top five Sinatra songs in my previous mailbag. It just missed the cut, but I'll end today's entry with this, Neil. ....... Shoobie-doobie-do; do-do-do-dee-do, la-da-da-da-da, ya-yaya-ya.....


Anonymous Anonymous said...

How are the other Linebacker doing, Wilson, Lansannah and Miller!


March 30, 2007 2:20 PM 
Blogger Chip Malafronte said...

I talked about Lansanah and Miller in the last mailbag, but they both look pretty good. Lansanah will start and is a strong captain candidate. Don't expect Miller to redshirt. I think he'll be out there quite a bit in a reserve role.

With Ryan Henegan out due to mono, Wilson's been getting a lot of extra time in practice. I don't think he's ready to unseat Henegan just yet.

March 30, 2007 5:17 PM 
Anonymous ScarletPete said...

UConn should be prepared for a season goal of trying not to finish in last place. Unless you're bringing back Orlovsky and Fincher in disguise, anything else might be shooting too high.

March 31, 2007 6:33 PM 

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