Pushing for Playing Time

Trevor Robinson is never sure when his number is going to be called, but on game days, the freshman offensive guard has his big No. 78 not too far out of offensive line coach John Latina's eye sight.

"I'm not hiding," Trevor Robinson laughed.

"I'm comfortable whenever he tells me to go in."

And Latina and the rest of the Notre Dame coaching staff has become very comfortable in playing Robinson.

The 6-foot-5, 301-pound Elkhorn, Neb. product has impressed enough in practice, that although starters Eric Olsen and Chris Stewart are playing well, that Robinson has earned game-day reps as well.

Robinson just isn't sure when he's going in.

"When coach Latina tells me to go in I go, and if not, I don't," Robinson explained. "I don't know if it's on a schedule or system to be honest with you. Obviously, I didn't play in the opener against San Diego State and then I got some time against Michigan, and I thought I held my own."

Robinson has played in four of six games this season, including the last three, as the Irish are 4-2 at the midway point of the season.

"I feel comfortable," Robinson stated. "I feel confident that I can do the job they ask me to do. I felt like I've competed with everyone I've played against, and I think it's gone about as well as you could hope for.

"I don't think I've really been surprised. Obviously the speed of the game is different and you get a taste of it in practice, but the first few reps you get are really kind of a realization of how fast the game actually is."

As an early enrollee, Robinson found out how fast the game is much sooner.

Robinson went from being a U.S. Army All-American to a college freshman in January, giving him a semester more experience than almost all of his classmates.

"I think it helped a lot," Robinson said. He roomed with classmate Sean Cwynar during the spring semester. "Obviously as much as the physical part of it, I was able to come into camp already with a good idea of the offense and I know the scheme obviously a lot better than anyone else that's coming in, so I think it was pretty important.

"A lot of it too, is being comfortable with the guys I'm playing with. Whoever I'm playing next to is able to help me out and I've had more experience with them with spring ball too, so that helps too."

Robinson was also able to start working with strength and conditioning coach Ruben Mendoza earlier.

"That's something that can always be improved," Robinson said. "Obviously the jump from where I was last year to this year, I've gotten stronger but a lot of the guys I've been playing against are still two, three, four years older than me. Some are stronger than others, but I feel I've been able to compete."

The confidence the coaching staff has in Robinson's play, has helped the Irish at another position of need.

Tight end.

With injuries to Mike Ragone and Luke Schmidt, and the suspension of Will Yeatman, the tight end position has been decimated. Head coach Charlie Weis likes to use multiple tight end sets, and Robinson has filled in as an extra one when necessary.

"It's close to the same jobs I'm doing at guard, but outside it's kind of nicer being on smaller bodied d-linemen and outside linebackers, so it's not too tough."

When Robinson signed with Notre Dame, he certainly didn't see himself playing tight end, but he did see himself on the field.

"Obviously you hope to play," he said. "Nobody doesn't want to play. But I've been satisfied with the reps, and you'll take whatever you can get."

Whenever Latina calls his number.

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