Armstrong Has Stayed The Course

Like most high school athletes that sign Division One scholarships they expect to play once they arrive on a college campus. But soon they learn the game of football at the college level makes it almost hard for anyone to get on the field. It's only those who stay the course that reach the level they dream of and Robby Armstrong had done that during his Bearcats career.

For redshirt junior linebacker Robby Armstrong the past three years have seen him go from scout team to gaining the confidence to be a player the Bearcats defensive coaches can count on. Now in his fourth season as a Bearcat the Murrysville, Pennsylvania native is finding his way.

"I've had two years of scout team and last year was the first year I really got a chance to get on the field as Corey Smith's backup. I usually went in whenever he needed me to but I've just tried to do anything to help the team out and do what makes us better."

Going from prep star at Franklin Regional Senior High School to the University of Cincinnati has seen Armstrong make major adjustments to his game.

"It's a major transition going from high school to college as everything is much faster in college game and you've got to work a lot harder and spend a lot more time watching film to learn what your opponent will do."

With increased reps last season Armstrong entered camp looking for more of a chance to show his skills. How have things gone so far?

"Since camp I've just been working real hard. We've got a three-man rotation with Craig Carey, Demetrius Jones and I. We've just all been pushing each other each day to get better and to make this team better."

One of the things helping all three linebackers is the Bearcats move to the 3-4 defensive scheme brought in by defensive coordinator Bob Diaco.

"The 3-4 does put another linebacker on the field and that is good. We've also got Curtis Young who is mainly like a linebacker but has that defensive end size and that's pretty sweet. But having the extra linebacker really helps."

Having been recruited by former coach Mark Dantonio; Armstrong has seen the changes in the program since he first arrived on campus.

"My first year I don't think we had 20,000 people at our opening game. I know we had a big crowd for the Rutgers game that year, but now this place sells out all the time and it's completely changed as now we have big crowds for every game.

Being from Western Pennsylvania means Armstrong returns home to an area full of Pitt fans. What was it like going back home wearing a Big East Championship ring on his finger?

"I was pretty nice and I got a lot of complements from all of my family. My good buddy John Malecki (Pittsburgh) hates it when I wear it and he sees it on my finger."

One of the things Coach Diaco has brought with him is the daily award for the Gold Football. On Wednesday the award went to Armstrong. What does it mean to him to pick up the award?

"The gold football is for the defender who was the best ball disrupter of the day. I guess today that we me."

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