Learning on the fly

CLEMSON - Even though Darius Robinson is listed as a sophomore, he felt more like a freshman before the 2011 season started.

After all, in just seven games last year, Robinson logged just 73 snaps, recording two tackles and had one interception along the way. Most of those snaps were over the course of three games -- 37 against Presbyterian, 17 against Maryland and 13 at Wake Forest.

"I never got the whole game experience [in 2010]. I played sparingly, every now and then, [in] big wins," he said. "I came in [this season] not really knowing what the big games are all about."

Fast forward to the halfway point this season and the 5-foot-11, 170-pound cornerback from College Park, Ga. has plenty of big game experience.

He's played in all seven this season, five of which were starts. In 260 snaps, Robinson has 15 tackles and a pass breakup.

Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele described Robinson as "tough, hard-nosed and very, very competitive."

"He's still working on his technique, has good speed, good football eyes. He's progressing," Steele said.

As is the case with most young cornerbacks, it's been a trial by fire this season.

"Being a younger DB, the ones that's not on film from previous years, ones that aren't on film from previous years, we're going to be the ones they attack more, because they haven't seen us on film," Robinson said. "Young is not an excuse. We're seven games into the season, so we can't use that excuse anymore."

This season, Darius Robinson has already played in as many games he did a year ago. (Roy Philpott)
There's a level of play the other veterans expect him to live up to.

"The older guys on the defense are expecting [underclassmen] to perform like them...we've got to step up," Robinson said. "If we're going to be out there with them, we've got to play on their level, not fall off."

That's not to say he expects nothing but smooth sailing. Life can be rough out there on the island.

"Even some of the best get beat. I guess you've just got to put that play behind you and go to the next play," Robinson said.

His next play could be against North Carolina wide receiver Dwight Jones, who leads all Tar Heel receivers with 46 catches for 687 yards and six touchdowns.

"He's a good player, like most of their receivers," Robinson said. "We're not really focused on shutting down a particular person, just doing our job, doing our assignments."

With a 7-0 overall record [4-0 ACC], it's a one-play at a time, one-game at a time mentality for Robinson and the rest of his teammates.

"Everybody's just staying focused right now, trying not to think ahead of ourselves," he said. "Every game is a big game. A lot of things happen in college football. We're just trying to stay on the right path and not think about too much."

CUTigers.com Top Stories