Tide Head Coach Dennis Franchione had been talking about Robinson for a couple of weeks, noting his smooth motion and ability to get the ball up quickly. But the Ole Miss game was Robinson's first chance to kick on Saturdays. "I was just thinking ‘See the ball, kick the ball,'" he related. "I wanted to keep my eye on the ball. The coaches told me Friday night that I was going to be starting, so I had time to get mentally focused and prepared."
Robinson played two seasons at Ranger Community College in Texas, before transferring to Alabama this past summer. So he's kicked in games plenty of times before. But Saturday was his first time on national TV in front of 83,000+ at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
"I was a little nervous on my first kick," he acknowledged. "but after that first one there wasn't too much. It had been awhile since I was out there in live game action--about a year. I played last year in junior college. It wasn't much different--other than the fans. But when you get out there you block out the fans. To me they're really not even out there."
Alabama probably played its best game of the season Saturday, turning in an offensive performance so dominating that Kyle Robinson was never called on to attempt a field goal. "Nah, you're not disappointed," he explained. "It just wasn't that kind of day. Every time we were in field goal range we put it in the end zone. You can't be upset about that."
Robinson is the third placekicker to see action for Alabama this season. Both Michael Ziifle and Brian Bostick tried their hand earlier in the season with mixed results. And Tide coaches are frankly anxious for someone to seize the job as his own.
Originally from Cleburne, Texas (about 30 minutes drive south of Fort Worth), Robinson chose the junior college route to keep his options open. "I didn't have many scholarship offers out of high school," he related. "I had some but just from some small schools. So I went to a junior college, because I thought that I had the ability to kick at a big school."
Ranger Community College is in West Texas (about 80 miles west of Forth Worth), and while there Robinson's credentials were solid enough. He was 5-of-5 on field goals his sophomore season with a long of 45 yards, and 14-for-14 on extra points. "I was at Ranger for two years, but it was the same scenario, really," Robinson said. "I didn't have a lot of attempts down there, so I didn't get too many scholarship offers."
So how does a Texas boy end up in Tuscaloosa, Alabama?
"I did a little recruiting on my own," Robinson explained. "I heard that Alabama was looking for a kicker, and I came down here on a visit. I just thought this was where I'd fit in best. I was hoping I'd have a chance to play."
Robinson spent last summer paying his own way to school and working out informally with the team. However, he was not one of the kickers included on the 105-man early reporting roster.
But he persevered, and his opportunity has arrived. "I think my maximum range for field goals would be about 52 yards," Robinson said. "I hit a couple of 50-yarders in pre-game warm-ups Saturday. Give or take the wind, my range is somewhere in there. The wind can push you a couple of yards back or a couple of yards in, but it's right around that--a little over 50."