Robinson Takes Aim for Upcoming Slate
Opponents Beware Of "The Human Missle'
The play occured during the early portion of Kentucky's annual Blue-White spring game in Commonwealth Stadium. On a third-and-short situation, Mark Higgs took a pitchout from his Blue teammate, quarterback Bill Ransdell, and swung around the left side of the offensive line. As the play unfolded, Higgs clearly appeared to have an easy first down, Suddenly, however, like a rock flung from a slingshot, safety Ron Robinson of the White team came barrelling through a gaping hole and stopped Higgs for a loss. With the Blue team forced into a punting situation, Robinson's defensive gem was a signal of better things yet to come.
"I try to play my game," said Robinson, a UK redshirt freshman. "I try to be aggressive because I am not as big as some of the other safeties around the league (Southeastern Conference). I atttempt to use every tool I have to the best of my ability."
So, how does a seemingly green freshman suddenly stop the fleet-footed Higgs for
little brother now
Cats' Pause Columnist
a possible first down during the game? "We were in a man-to-man coverage and my man blocked," explained Robinson. "So, my instincts told me to move up and I got him."
Instincts Help Robinson Sniff Out Opposing QBs
Those instincts Robinson spoke of date back to his prep quarterbacking days at Stratford High School in Nashville, Tenn. He now believes his previous QB experience has made him a better pass defender.
"Being a former quarterback playing defensive back is not as hard because I still have those instincts of a quarterback," said Robinson, who led his prep team to 8-3 records his last two years while playing both quarterback and safety. "Sometimes I can guess what a quarterback is gonna do."
Furthermore, his transition to the 'Cats' wide-tackle-six defensive scheme was made to order, because his Stratford squad employed a five-man line with linebackers often dropping into the secondary.
"When I came here I knew most of the defenses," remembered Robinson, "there were a few that I didn't know, but I did know most of them."
This season UK certainly would benefit from his firm grasp of the defense. For the past two seasons, the Wildcats have been listed near the bottom in SEC pass defense statistics. With only one senior starting (Tony Mayes) in the secondary, UK may have one of the youngest defensive backfield units in the conference this season. However, Robinson expects the youth of the defense to bring more enthusiasm.
Says Secondary Will Be Hungry
"Our secondary will be younger but also hungrier," Robinson said. "The younger you are the hungrier you are to show what you can really do. We will make a few mistakes but we will come around with game experience."
Since he will be roaming to the safety area, Robinson also will be looking forward to putting the shoulder pads to opposing receivers.
Robinson already has established a reputation as a punishing hitter. Just ask some of his teammates who have felt the wrath of his blows.
Furthermore, Robinson has shown no fear. As a result, teammates already have given him a nickname "The Human Missile."
"I stick my head in places where a whole lot of people may not stick their head," said Robinson. "I'm smaller than the average safety (6-foot-2, 180 pounds), so I have to come in with everything I've got."
Robinson is hoping his teammates will give a maximum effort on the field for the coming season. Coming off a losing season, he has sensed a change in morale during the past spring and early summer months.
"Everybody seems a little hungrier," said Robinson. "We are working harder in the weight room. There seems to be a turnaround in the overall attitude of the team."
Everything Pointed To UK
Robinson was heavily recruited by Vanderbilt, Tennessee and Kentucky. Though he admits the decision was difficult, Robinson eliminated Vandy because he thought Kentucky could be successful sooner than Vandy could.
"I liked the atmosphere and I felt I would be more comfortable coming here," said Robinson, who has accomplished his high school goal of obtaining a major college scholarship.
Another factor which swayed Robinson into choosing UK was his mother moving
to Lexington months before he graduated from high school.
"I wanted to stay close to my family." Robinson said. "In fact, loves UK."
Robinson also has another family his teammates. He feels a tight bond among the squad that molds it together. "Everybody is like a family around here," said the freshman safety. "We stick together
through thick and thin."
Like any younger player who starts a college football career, the goal of playing professionally is always enticing. But, according to Robinson, if pro football doesn't materialize, he would prefer to enter the business world.
"1 have plans of becoming a draftsman or architect," said the personable Robinson. 'If it's possible, I would like to take a shot at the pros. But that's still a long way off."
Since becoming a student/athlete at UK, Robinson has felt comfortable with his new environment of college life. Though he portrays an aggressive style on the field, he personality is more subtle off it.
"I'm a easygong person and easy to get along with," said Robinson. "I enjoy being around people a lot and seem to make friends rather easily."
One person who the UK feshman has gotten to know is head coach Jerry Claiborne. Robinson is a true believer in Claiborne's theory that a high school prospect attends a university with a goal of striving for a degree first, then be a good player. "He (Claiborne) believes everybody should get an education and finish school," said
Robinson. "But also be a good athlete."
Robinson also says one of the stronger assets of the UK head mentor, who is listed as one of the winningest college football coaches in the country, is his ability to get this team to reach its peak performance during the season.
"He gets the most out of his players both on and off the field," explained Robinson, who has overcome an ankle injury suffered while returning a kickoff in a scrimmage between redshirts and walk-ons. "He is a good leader and motivator."
"I like him as a person."
Both Claiborne and Robinson would love to see the Wildcats start the '86 season successfully. Last season, a 30-26 upset loss in the season opener to Bowling Green set the pace for a season of unfulfilled expectations. Thus, the opener with Rutgers on September 13 could be billed as a "must win" as an opening victory could lead to a better season.
"The first game of the season will tell how our season will go," said Robinson. "Last year if we would have won the first game we might have gone to a bowl gmae."
But can the youthful Wildcats rebuff the preseason prognostications of a lower half conference finish in the SEC this season? Evidently, Robinson thinks the Wildcats might be a darkhourse that might sneak up on overconfident opponents.-
"We are going to surprise a lot of people," predicted Robinson.
"I want us to be prepared for the SEC with hopefully a unbleminshed record, then see what we can do with the stronger teams in the league."
If Robinson's development at safety is any indicator then his prediction might not be that far off.
Cawood Ledford and Ralph Hacker will have a new sidekick to roam the sidelines fcf radio broadcasts of Kentucky football games this season. Russ Small, who did the sideline announcing last year has left the Kentucky Network and accepted a job at a Detroit, Mich., radio station earlier this summer. One of the leading candidates as Small's replacement is Rick Shaw, who was the on-the-field announcer for UK games when Jim Host had the radio rights for UK football and basketball radio broadcasts a few years ago. Shaw currently has a position under WVLK station manager Ralph Hacker in Lexington. . .Former Wildcat guard Reggie Warford is one of six candidates to become the chief recruiting assistant for Auburn coach Sonny Smith. War-
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