Robinson in His Element

The first practice in pads for a middle linebacker is equivalent to having a five-year old go on an uncontrollable shopping spree at Toys ‘R Us. Both are extremely pleased with their good fortune. Even though the player they call ‘Manimal' switched positions, Dale Robinson told Devils Digest that he's comfortable with his new role.

"Yeah it was a special day," Dale Robinson said on his first practice with pads this spring. "I haven't played in pads for so long. So I was happy to go out here. It wasn't hard to get used to again."

What will require adjustment is the senior moving from the SAM (strong side linebacker) to the middle linebacker role. Then again, Robinson is more than comfortable with that change. "I wanted to play that position," he claimed. "I think that's more of my natural position. I'm very happy to play there. They are some other new stuff they have planned for me, so I'll have to get used to it all."

No one would blame Robinson wanting to stay put, following a spectacular 2004 campaign. The then first-year ASU player racked up a team second best 93 tackles and a team leading 13 tackles for a loss. However, he does insist that he has no apprehension. "Last year was only my second year playing at outside linebacker. I was playing inside all the time. I know it's gonna work out just fine."

Aside from position change, Robinson and the rest of the Sun Devils this side of the ball is now working under the tutelage of coach Bill Miller. Again, Robinson feels good about this change as well. "I like him," he said. "He motivates and leads you in a different way. I like that and everybody respects him because of the players he has coached. I'm happy he's our coach."

When asked about the changes in the defensive scheme that Miller has brought to the table, Robinson was a bit deceptive as to how much has ASU's defense been upgraded. "I'd probably say everything (smile)," he quipped. "Nah, it's an NFL defense and the same defense Florida and Miami had. Those schools played great defense, so hopefully we can play like them."

The linebacker was already told by the staff that he's expected to be more of a leader on the team. Robinson accepts that responsibility. "I definitely know that and the coaches have talked to me about that. A lot of guys look up to me and if I make a big play they will follow."

Even though Robinson didn't practice with the team last year (he was completing his studies at Glendale Community College), he did hang around spring practice quite a bit. Thus, he has noticed how different last year's spring was this year. "That's what we've been doing talking about leadership. Yeah, we were in the Sun Bowl but we're definitely trying to have a better year."

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