Robinson Looking to Show He's Ready to Start

Greg Robinson, a promising young offensive tackle, is pushing to win a starting spot on the Auburn football team's offensive line.

Auburn, Ala.--After a year of adjusting to college life and college football, Greg Robinson is ready to take the next step forward and the redshirt freshman hopes it is a big one.

With last year's starters at both tackle spots being seniors in 2011 and no veterans ready to step in and replace them, the door is wide open for a young player to step in and secure a starting spot.

Robinson (right) competes against defensive end LaDarius Owens in a one-on-one drill.

At six-foot-six, 315 pounds with a lot of natural ability, Robinson is a favorite to win the vacant left tackle spot when the Tigers take the field for their season opener vs. Clemson.

Accomplishing that goal would mean a lot, Robinson tells Inside the Auburn Tigers "Being able to play is something I have been waiting on for a long time after watching from the sidelines last season," he says. "I am anxious to get the shot to play."

Being able to open the season as a starter would be a big deal for another reason, Robinson points out. "I want to give my family something to look forward to when they come to the games," he says. "I think my mom, my grandmother and a few of my sisters and brothers are coming to the first game."

Auburn's opener will be on Sept. 1st at the Georgia Dome where the Tigers will tangle with Clemson, the defending Atlantic Coast Conference champions.

However, as Auburn opens the second week of preseason drills Coach Gene Chizik's Tigers are more focused on themselves than their first opponent.

Robinson says he is encouraged by his start this preseason. "Everything has been going good," he notes. "I am trying to get everything down pat and learn everything I am supposed to know to give myself a chance to play.

"I have been working on getting all of the plays down," he adds. "Even though we have been around this offense for a bit of time now, it is still new and we are still have a lot of things to put in. It is important for me to stay on track with everything coach is teaching us and keep learning every day."

Robinson points out there is a lot to learn for all of the linemen because their assignments are different with the Tigers changing offensive coordinators and offensive systems with Scot Loeffler taking over from Gus Malzahn.

"The offense is different because we are doing a lot more different things," Robinson says. "Coach Malzahn was like a different offensive coordinator than Coach Loeffler."

One thing that hasn't changed for the left tackle spot is what happens when the Tigers want to throw the football on intermediate or deep pass routes. Robinson knows it is his responsibility to protect the blindside of his quarterback to prevent big plays by the defense or even an injury to Auburn's QB.

"Protecting the quarterback and doing everything I am supposed to do on pass rush and not give up sacks are important at my position," the redshirt freshman says. "When we are running the ball, I want to give my running backs a chance to make big plays."

Robinson looks to be in the right place at the right time to be an impact performer for the Tigers. He says that he feels like he is in good shape physically after a demanding offseason workout directed by strength and conditioning coach Kevin Yoxall. "Coach Yox has been pushing us over the summer," he says. "We have got everything together physically."

The redshirt freshman notes that he feels stronger at his current size, even though it is four pounds less than he weighed at this time last year. "I feel like I am comfortable at 315, but if Coach wants me to gain weight, I will do that, or if he wants me to lose weight, I will do that, too."

Greg Robinson is shown in the first week of preseason practice.

Last year the Tigers were down in numbers of offensive linemen, but that has changed with seven freshmen joining the team and tackle Shon Coleman being cleared after missing the last two seasons with an illness.

Commenting on the newcomers as a group, Robinson says, "They are coming along really well. They are picking up things. We have got Coach Pugh (graduate assistant coach Ryan Pugh) and he is really helping us learn things when the Coach (Jeff) Grimes) is not around. Coach Pugh is a big help."

Although Robinson finished spring training as the clear number one guy at left tackle, Grimes told the players that every position is open for the taking this preseason. Robinson says the message has gotten through to the players up front. "You have to always stay on your toes because there is a lot of competition," he says. "When you slip somebody else is always trying to rise."

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