Meanwhile, Tim Horton, the running backs coach, had to address the thin nature of his position with Dennis Johnson now sidelined with an ankle injury. Johnson was in a boot and will not practice Saturday. Brandon Barnett will be absent one more day, but is expected back Saturday night.
How did Robinson think the tape looked from Wednesday's scrimmage?
"We just stayed real generic and stayed base," Robinson said. "We wanted to come out and play tough, play assignment free and our kids flew to the ball and tackled well.
"The other thing that stood out that we kinda created a little bit of pressure. As long as you can create pressure out of base, you can live with a few things. We came out and played our staples on defense and we felt good about how we played a lot of those things.
"We got hurt with screens and we got hurt with over routes and stuff, but we played the base part of the run game fairly decent."
What does Robinson want from Saturday's scrimmage?
"Basically, we want the same thing out of Wednesday's scrimmage," Robinson said. "We will play a lot of reps and stuff, but we will play certain things from our base and a little bit of pressure. But in certain situations, we'll call it like a game.
"We are still looking for the same enthusiasm, running to the ball, okay. There's going to be a little give and take. We want to see how everyone responds when they get hit in the mouth."
Specifically, Robinson was asked about the early play in spring from first-year player Tramain Thomas at safety.
"Tramain has done a great job," Robinson said. "His first scrimmage, last Saturday, he made four or five tackles and made a lot of big hits and also made a lot of plays on the ball. In Wednesday's scrimmage, he didn't have any missed tackles. He responded well and played the ball well, so he's continued to grow and he's pushing the young man in front of him and that's what we look for at every position."
Who else stood out in Wednesday's scrimmage?
"Tramain Thomas was one, certianly," he said. "I thought Isaac Madison played well. He played the deep ball well, he tackled well. I thought Jerry Franklin played well. Again, Malcolm Sheppard, day in and day out gives you everything he has. Damario Ambrose played pretty decently as well."
Robinson was asked about the thought process of moving Tenarius Wright to defensive end from linebacker.
"What he's doing is in spite of his size," Robinson said. "He's a big bone young man and has great height. He's trying to stay at that weight to play linebacker. He's losing energy trying to do that. We told him, let your body grown naturally, keep working in the weight room and he's going to be a 245-pound, 250 young man. He was going to grow into that position eventually. So what we've told him, we'd rather make the change now so he can take those reps and create some competition. He's only going to get better as time goes on.
"It's always hard to put your hand down. But it's great experience for him. The things we will do at that position, we'll drop him (into coverage) and he has linebacker experience. We'll have him cover man on a back or tight end. So there is great carryover from linebacker to that end position."
Are the safeties playing faster?
"I think we all are like that," he said. "It's not clean back there, but the communication is better back there. It's not where we want it, but at least they are talking. When they do talk, at least there is a little bit of confirmation. It might not be all right, but they are convincing the guys that are out there that they are doing it right."
How has the physical nature of the front?
"I thought Wednesday it was decent," he said. "The thing was, we won the line of scrimmage and our linebackers were able to scrape and flow to the ball."
Is it better than last year at this point?
"I'm sure it is," Robinson said. "We've got more experienced kids. The kids are bigger, stronger. They understand their assignments. They are able to get off blocks and chase the football pretty well."
Horton sees his position getting thinner as spring practice rolls along. Dennis Johnson, getting most of the work with the first unit through the first six workouts, was in an ankle boot Friday. The timing was not good with the Hogs staring at a lengthy scrimmage Saturday.
"It will be very long," Horton said. "I'd venture to say it will be the longest scrimmage of the spring. We are going to have about 20 minutes of pre-game and then we are going to go. So bring your lunch. That's good. We need it and we are going to look at everyone."
The Hogs expect at least one running back soon. Brandon Barnett has missed the last five workouts with the passing of his father. The funeral is Saturday and Barnett will return later in the afternoon.
"He'll be back with us Saturday night," Horton said. "Brandon was with his did for a couple of days before he passed. We will be glad to get him back, but it's been a tough week for Brandon.
"We have really missed him. He gives us a lot of enthusiasm. He's a real fun guy in our group."
Johnson will not practice.
"Dennis is in a boot for an ankle," Horton said. "I know he has had X-rays and I don't know how they went. Really, tomorrow we are looking at De'Anthony Curtis, Broderick Green, Mitchell Bailey and Adrian Moore as our four primary ball carriers."
Bailey has had a nice practice after battling back from a concussion in the indoor workout last week.
How have things progressed?
"Really, I was very pleased the first week," Horton said. "Then, on Tuesday and Wednesday at running back -- and really on offense -- we took a step back. So it was disappointing. Today, I thought we were sharp. But really we will know tomorrow. It's our day to perform. It will be a good gauge for our offense."
It was another solid outing Friday for quarterback Tyler Wilson, locked in an impressive battle with Ryan Mallett.
Wilson feels confidence developing in the second week of spring practice. He's had three solid workouts in a row with Friday's practice building on an impressive scrimmage Wednesday. Wilson said this week has been about polish after a week of heavy installations.
"We went back this week and we didn't expand the playbook," he said. "We are coming back this week and going through it again. That was great. It was great to cleanup some things that were a little sloppy the first week."
Wilson expects things to improve even more Saturday.
"I think you'll see a difference tomorrow," he said. "I think we will be much more crisp."
Did he sleep good after a solid performance Wednesday.
"Yes sir," Wilson said. "I just felt more confident Wednesday. I just come into the huddle with more confidence. I think that's really the biggest part. I felt like I had the ability, but when you know where you are going then you can play full speed. When you don't at times, you are going to struggle."
What is it like with the competition at quarterback?
"You have guys who will push you every day," he said. "You get better. For me, though, it's not trying to compete with those guys every day -- although it is -- it is more about competing with yourself and make yourself better. You come in each day -- whether it's on the field or in the film room -- and better yourself every day and stay as steady as you can and gradually climb and get better."
How was Friday compared to Wednesday? Did Wilson think he built on that performance?
"I did," he said. "Confidence again is the thing I've achieved in the last two weeks. I've got to build on that even more. I think that will help you even more."
Wilson has shown the ability to scramble from the pocket and find open receivers, even with some sidearm throws. He whipped one sidearm for a big play on the move Friday evening.
"I don't know if those are technically sound," he laughed. "But we take completions. You always take completions how you can get them."