Robinson Ready For Time In Spotlight

Senior free safety Travaris Robinson is ready to showcase his talent after sub-par sophomore and junior seasons at cornerback.

Auburn, Ala.--After exploding onto the scene as a freshman during the 1999 season at wide receiver, the game of football just hasn't been the same for Travaris Robinson.

Moved to the defensive side of the football the following spring, Robinson struggled to get back his defensive mindset and was mainly a reserve each of the last two seasons.

However, all that has changed thanks to a new defensive coordinator, a new defensive strategy and a new position. When coach Gene Chizik was hired last winter by head coach Tommy Tuberville, few suspected what kind of impact he could have in such a short period of time on a player like Robinson.

Robinson showed a physical style of playing at free safety during spring drills.

Robinson says that Chizik has been good good for the entire defense. "It's pretty exciting," Robinson tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "Everybody has been working hard this summer, putting forth maximum effort. We're just going to go out there and continue to work hard for the season.

"Coach just has us continuing to look at film and see what we did wrong and also seeing what we did right so we can master the defense by Sept. 2. We're just going to go out there and keep working hard. Everybody is excited about this new defense and it gives us a chance to do some different things. Everybody gets to showcase their skills so we're just going to go out there and put it all on the table."

That is something Robinson has been doing since he first started playing the game back home in Miami. As a senior at Coral Park High he was a highly regarded cornerback prospect after intercepting 13 passes and was also a coveted wide receiver prospect with 860 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns. When he arrived on the Auburn campus it was thought that he was needed more on offense as a freshman so off to wide receiver he went.

Things worked out well that season as he caught 18 passes with one touchdown and also led the team in return yardage with 316 yards. Following the season the coaches decided that he was needed more on the defensive side of the ball and they moved Robinson to defense. That began a long and tough road for Robinson who, although one of the better athletes on the team, couldn't find his niche on the Tiger defense. Totaling 57 tackles in two seasons with one interception but not looking overly impressive while doing it, things looked like they would come to a dull end this season for the senior until the arrival of Chizik.

During the spring the coaches decided to make some moves in the secondary and two of those were to move Robinson and Junior Rosegreen from cornerback to the safety spots. It didn't take long to realize that the moves would be more than a trial. Looking like they had worked together for years, the duo gave the defense a solid answer at the safety spots and insured themselves of remaining at their new homes this fall.

Because of that Robinson brings a new attitude into the summer. Knowing that a job is waiting on him when preseason practice begins, the 5-10, 195-pound senior has given his all to being the best he can be this fall and it shows. He also says that the entire team is just as ready to tee up the ballon Sept. 2 against USC.

Travaris Robinson is No. 1 on the depth chart ahead of former starters Stanford Simmons and Donnay Young.

"Everybody is excited," he says with a smile. "Everybody can't wait until we get to Los Angeles and play the game. We're just going out there and trying to take it one day at a time and get better before we get there. Because when we get there we know it's going to be a hard-fought battle.

"It's a different attitude this year," Robinson says of the summer conditioning drills. "Over the past years we always had a good workout program, but this year everybody is real excited about the season because we've got new coaches. Everybody feels this is the first time we've really feltthat we can really win the national championship. We just have to go out there and execute and it could possibly happen."

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