Keep Away from Robey

USC cornerback Nickell Robey is a third-year returning starter and co-captain for the Trojans. He's a Thorpe Award candidate, but isn't putting up the big numbers expected during his junior season and it's no fault of his own...

Nickell Robey says playing defense for the Trojans these days can get a little boring. Why wouldn't it? Opposing teams are scheming to throw the ball far away from the Trojans' lockdown cornerback, eliminating his ability to be a playmaker in the team's secondary.

"It is frustrating," the junior explained after practice on Monday, followed by saying that playing the position can indeed become a bore. "That's the biggest problem," he continued, "so I just have to make sure I stay active on the field, just stay hustling to the ball, stay in the game, stay hyped and just try to get some things going."

"I think he's played great," Coach Lane Kiffin said of Robey's performance this season. "(Opponents) just don't throw at him."

The only way opponents will test Robey, is if corners on the opposite side of the field for the Trojans start to step up and make plays.

Four defensive backs have rotated through the spot, including Torin Harris, Anthony Brown, Brian Baucham, and Kevon Seymour. Though none of them have proven to be the answer yet, Kiffin is confident he has the talent to fill the role.

"We've just got to be more consistent," he said, noting that Harris has missed time due to injury and that the staff rushed him back too quickly to play against Syracuse. "We can't do that because he'd been out for so long," Kiffin explained, "so I think this bye has been good for him."

"They've got all the skills," said Robey of his teammates. "It's not even the talent, it's not the effort, these guys give effort, they are talented. That's why they are at USC. It's just being accountable."

If it's accountability they need, Robey plans to hold them to it. "I just go at their confidence," he said. "I just tell them to keep their confidence up."

In the meantime, Robey will keep working to get himself involved in plays, no matter how far away they may be. "I just try not to be complacent," he said. "Especially on the ball that's away from me, and whenever they roll out to the other side, and stuff like that. You've got to be on key."

Robey started all 12 games last season, finishing with 63 tackles and two interceptions. Through the first four games of 2012, he has tallied 16 tackles for the Trojans.

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