Senior wide receiver looks to leave on top

When Geell Robinson committed to Arizona State nearly 4 years ago, the Sun Devils had just captured a share of the Pac 10 championship. Since then, the Devils have suffered three consecutive years without a bowl appearance. Despite that though, Robinson insists that ASU is on the cusp of a special year and a return to the top of the conference.

For Robinson, the 2011 season began as soon as James Brooks blocked that final extra point attempt down in Tucson last December. Consecutive wins over conference foes UCLA and Arizona provided Robinson and many of his teammates additional motivation to train especially hard for the upcoming season.

The star receiver committed himself to conditioning his body this summer and participated in a number of receiving drills with his teammates, keeping fans up to date via his Twitter account.

"This has been the first year that I've been here where I feel we really put in a lot of work. We've been working out everyday of the week, Monday-Friday, and sometimes on Saturday. But this year has been crazy. We've done a lot of 'A Mountain' runs. Last year I think we only ran it three times total. This year I ran it a cool eight times myself. It has definitely been a good offseason for me."

Perhaps the top priority for Robinson this offseason was to develop a bond with his new starting quarterback, Brock Osweiler. Each player has stated before that they have goals they each want to achieve this year, but in order to do so, they'll need each other. During his time in Tempe, Robinson has seen a revolving door at quarterback, but feels that the Sun Devils finally have their man.

"Since I've been here, this will be my fourth quarterback, so that's kind of different," commented the receiver. "But at the same time, I feel like he's (Osweiler) the best man and ready for the job."

"In the offseason we knew we had to have our chemistry ready for this year. I knew he was going to need me as much as anybody, so we definitely went to work in the summer."

"We threw together every single day, even during the winter. As soon as last year ended and it became the 2011 season, and we went to work."

The 2010 season was a mixed bag of good and bad for the Arizona State football team. An overhaul of the offense by new coordinator Noel Mazzone produced much better numbers for the Sun Devils, but they still found themselves missing out on a bowl opportunity, finishing the season 6-6, despite playing some of the better teams in the nation better than most. The Devils return a large majority of the players from last year's squad, only this time with more experience.

"The last couple years we were optimistic about our seasons," reflected Robinson during Saturday's Media Day events. "We had people in place, but just not enough. This year we have playmakers at every single position, and everybody knows that."

"To see how close we were last year, losing to three of the top five teams in the country by like 16 points, and the fact that Oregon beat us by eleven and had two scores off our turnovers. We know if we take care of all the details this year, nobody is going to be able to touch us."

With a full year of Mazzone's new offense under their belts, Robinson can see a difference in the offense's approach this fall. No longer are they struggling to learn routes and terminology, but instead are focused and perfecting techniques. And even though the offense produces night and day differences compared to previous years for the Sun Devils, Robinson expects things to improve even more in year two.

"I definitely feel like we all know the offense now," he said. "It's not so much about getting us to know the offense, it's about us being precise and getting the repetitions in so that we can execute."

"I really think that this team itself has the capability of winning every single game we go in."

In contrast to years past, the first week of fall camp has shown that the Sun Devil offense is no longer at the mercy of their defensive counterparts. Not only does the offense have the talent to compete with their own defense, but Robinson credits their practice time together as a reason for their renewed confidence and play-making abilities. Both sides of the ball appear to be on the same page, focused on the same goal, and helping each other try to achieve the same desired results.

"I mean this defense is very stingy and we got a lot of players that are ready to compete, and we got some players that definitely know what needs to get done this year," commented Robinson. "They know that we need to work every time we step out onto that field, even more so now that Omar (Bolden) went down."

"And at the same time I feel like we have elite receivers on this team, so they're getting to see the best available competition, as opposed to previous years when it really wasn't like that."

Not only do the Sun Devils now have talent across the board, but Robinson will tell you that offensively, they're nearly two deep at every position. It's that depth that will eventually allow the Sun Devils to compete with, and hopefully beat, they stronger teams on schedule this time around.

"To be honest with you, the past few years I've been here camp has been crazy," he said. "I'd have to take the majority of the reps because a lot of the guys didn't know the plays or didn't do what they were supposed to do in certain situations. But this year, we really went to work in the off-season."

"We all worked on the playbook to learn the in's and out's of this offense. So now I can come off the field if I'm tired and we have guys who can step up and make some plays. There's not a big drop-off, if any. It's really good to see those guys succeed, and I'm really happy to see all of them play."

Watching Robinson in practice this past week, it's clear that he has become one of the leaders of this team. Not only has he become more vocal, shouting words of encouragement at his teammates, but also by example, continually giving maximum effort throughout the entire practice sessions.

"Since I've been here I've definitely become a better team player," remarked Robinson. "Coming out of high school I can honestly say that I wasn't really putting the team first with a lot of things that I did, but now I'm a selfless player.

"Coming into this camp I've learned my role as a senior leader, and knowing when to say something and when not to say something. I want to teach the young guys so I can leave my mark and start a tradition for the younger guys to follow."

For now the playmaker will have to concentrate on the final three weeks of camp before their September 1st showdown with UC-Davis. Robinson plans on using the time to iron out the kinks and prepare for the grind ahead. Everyone is aware of the goal at hand, he says, and he's just itching for the chance to get out on the field.

"It's bittersweet because I know it'll be my last handful of games as a Sun Devil, but I'm excited to get this show on the road and stop talking about all the hype, and start getting the real results," he said. "We haven't had a championship here since Coach Erickson's first year, and I don't see any other we can leave here without giving him another championship under his belt. And for the fans as well. That's definitely my main goal."

"As far as me leaving a legacy, my goal is to be the first Pac 12 champion. Whenever you're the first to do anything, you always go down in history, and they can't take that away from you."


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