Interview: Everett Robinson

It's been over four years since Everett Robinson wore the Black and Gold. VandyMania caught up with the former wide receiver who now makes his home in the Birmingham, Ala. area.

VandyMania: You graduated in 2001. What have you been doing since you graduated?
Everett Robinson: Since graduating from Vandy (in 2002), I have settled back in Birmingham, AL. I have been employed with Compass Bank for a little over 2 years now, where I am both an IRA Specialist (Retirement Accounts) and a Financial Sales Representative.

VandyMania: How did a Vanderbilt education help prepare you for a career?
Everett Robinson: When I began with Compass, I was strictly an IRA Specialist. I was a part of the charter group for the centralization of an IRA Department. This being the first time that the bank had ever made such a move, a lot of input was required from the charter group as to the most effective ways to handle all the challenges that we were facing. My Vanderbilt education definitely prepared me for facing challenges and effective problem solving, both large and small.

VandyMania: What would you tell a young man or woman considering attending Vanderbilt?
Everett Robinson: I would tell them that it was the best experience of my life!!! I was able to get what I guess people like to deem that "Southern" Ivy League Education without all of the Northern hustle and bustle. How can anyone debate the great diversity of Vandy, with grads stemming anywhere from Robert Penn Warren (poet, Pulitzer Prize winner), to Amy Grant (Singer), to Corey Chavous (Minnesota Vikings Pro Bowl Safety)? How can anyone debate the scenery from the heart of downtown, to the Riverfront, to Titans stadium? You get the best of both worlds, both educational and social. In my case, I got the best of three worlds, educational, social, and athletics. I would just let anyone know that they would never regret attending Vanderbilt University.

VandyMania: Your father, Lorenza, launched a personal "Dare to Believe" motto campaign on the VandyMania forums that quickly spread throughout the Vanderbilt community. How did that affect you and the team?
Everett Robinson: I had actually been hearing that message a looonnnggg time before I ever got to Vandy. Not in those words, but my father always taught me that if I was going to do something, anything, to believe in it whole heartedly. I was never the biggest, the fastest, or the strongest, but I was taught that it I believed in myself, all of that didn't matter. Neither my father, nor myself, were accustomed to the atmosphere surrounding Vandy Football. I had come from programs where winning was the norm. Players expected to win, fans expected it, the whole state expected it. It seemed like a complete 180 at Vandy. Students, fans, even some players, were ok with losing. The slogan, "Dare To Believe," reaffirmed what I already knew: If you don't think you can win, if you don't believe in yourself or those around you, you are destined to fail. I think that the introduction of that slogan by my father kinda opened some people's eyes, students, fans, and players alike, to that fact.

VandyMania: In 1999, your sophomore season, Vanderbilt actually came within a field goal of going to a bowl game. What do you recall about that Kentucky game and how did it affect the team?
Everett Robinson: If you could find the picture from the front page of The Tennessean Sports section from that Sunday after the Kentucky game, my picture tells it all. They have a shot of me on my knees, with my head on the ground in total disbelief. After not making it to a bowl game since 1982, and then coming that close, knowing that the winner would be bowl eligible, the loser would have to beat UT, it really crushed our spirit. I guess was obvious with us going out the next week and losing to UT like 10-38!!!

VandyMania: As a wide receiver you played with both Greg Zolman and Jay Cutler. Cutler, with a good season and no injuries will likely break Zolman's passing records.
Everett Robinson: Which one do you feel is the more talented quarterback? Hmmm...That's a tough one. Now that I think about it, they are actually pretty even! "Z" was a pocket passer with great vision, who had to work on his scramble ability. "Cut" was a great scrambler with a cannon arm, who had to work on his vision. They are both students of the game; wanting to watch film, correct mistakes, see what they can do better the next time. "Z" was great at making the players around him better. From what I've been seeing, "Cut" definitely inherited that trait. The team seems to rally around him the more he excels.

VandyMania: Do you keep up with the Commodores these days?
Everett Robinson: I have definitely tried to keep up with the Dores these days. I've been trying to keep up with all the guys that were freshmen when I was getting ready to graduate. I feel like a proud papa seeing "Cut" light up the stat book. Mo (Moses) and Cheron were some of my hang out buddies. Even as freshmen, they were mature beyond their years, both on and off the field. Watching Mo on the practice field, it ws obvious that he had a "Winborn-like" nose for the ball. That has shown in him being atop the SEC tackle leaderboard. If Cheron could have stayed healthy, I have no doubt that he could have been a shut down corner. The nickel spot is still not an easy position though. And I'm really glad that Big O (Otis Washington) is on the right track. He should complement Mo greatly.

VandyMania: How do you think the team looks going into the 2005 season?
Everett Robinson: I honestly think that the squad looks really good this year. They finally have some "experience" at most postions. "Cut" calling the shots is a plus. If they can muster a somewhat decent runing game (w/Norval graduating and the unfortunate loss of Kwane) and Trey (Holloway), Ryan, and Nigel can hold down the line, some of th epressure should be off so that he can find Erik, Marlon, and Dustin. Mo and Otis should cause opposing offenses fits. With Andrew (Pace) moving over to corner and Kelechi calling the shots, and Cheron in the nickel, the secondary should be able to hold it's own. If a few freshman step in as role players, it will be a positive. Coach Johnson and his staff have been able to put together some great gameplans. If that trend continues, we're definitely in good shape. Also, I think the squad has a favorable schedule - 5 HOME GAMES IN A ROW at one stretch in the season. New coaching staffs at both LSU and SC (even though it's Spurrier, will they have enough players left?) I feel gives us a slight edge. The toughest challenges will of course once again be having to travel to both "The Swamp" and Neyland Stadium. But hey, we all know that nothing is impossible. Remember, "DARE TO BELIEVE!" I know that my Gold and Black is going to grace Dudley Field/Vanderbilt Stadium and as many visitors stadiums as humanly possible! Hope to see you ALL there!

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