Conversation with John Robinson: Part 2

Here is part two of the interview with UNLV Coach John Robinson, including a discussion about attempts to keep Badger fans out of the stadium Saturday night, his job as athletic director, and comparisons of Wisconsin's Anthony Davis to the Anthony Davis he coached at USC.

Are you worried about your offensive line?

Robinson: You know, I like our guys. I think they're going to become a good offensive line. I just wish I knew when. It's the first time out for some guys, so they will be feeling that. There's more pressure in modern football now, or football today or whatever you want to say, on the offensive line than just about anybody else. Because people are blitzing and bringing people up. Like Wisconsin has changed its defense now to eight men up there and sometimes nine. The offensive line bears the burden of that. Everybody talks about the quarterback, and he has a lot to do, but he doesn't have some guy six inches from his face saying awful things about him, then stunting somewhere at the time. So it's a tough place to play.

Are you convinced your wide receivers will be better this year?

Robinson: I sure as hell hope so, or else I'm not going to the games. Yeah, I think we are a lot better, and we feel we have a growing confidence in that. Again, a lot of times the first time out you just don't know about it, but yes we are.

You've been around a lot of great tailbacks in your time. When you watch Wisconsin's Anthony Davis, any flashbacks to No. 28 at Southern Cal when you were an offensive coordinator there?

Robinson: You know, I've got halftimer's disease so I can't remember Anthony very well. Except I do remember him some. Certain runners remind you some…but I think their size is similar and they both look like they are aggressive players. Every Wisconsin tailback has been one of those tailback-type guys. I've always been proud of the tailbacks I've had, because they kind of have a certain personality about them. And I know Wisconsin is proud of their guys and obviously Davis is one of the good ones.

What do you like most about Davis on film?

Robinson: You know, this year we haven't…we just saw the television of the game. I think he's going to come at you all day. Most backs now have a chance to pop it for a touchdown and make a big play, but I don't think those are the things that matter in a game. It's the runner that keeps coming at you and makes enough yards to get first downs so they can keep running and ultimately drive the opponent into the ground. That tailback, wherever he is, is the most valuable of any of them. The guy that makes the big run, the spectacular run is nice, but the guy that can run 28-30 times in the big game against a Michigan or an Ohio State and win the game. Boy, they're the ones that are rare.

Have you had anyone who's the size of Dorsey that could be as productive as Dorsey?

Robinson: No. He's very small. When you stand next to him, he looks like a bantamweight fighter, but he is very explosive. The thing about him, and all good runners, he comes at you. You'd think a little guy is going to run away from you, but he doesn't. He comes at you and pots through holes really better…I should temper this, he's not a better runner, but he can get through holes a whole lot quicker than just about anybody I've been around.

You've added the responsibilities of athletic director. How's that been working out?

Robinson: I think good. I started in January, so I had six months to screw all the stuff up. Now I forget about it and give it to somebody else for a while. But I think we've made progress. The reason I took the job is, I just didn't feel like we could afford to be status quo while we went through a search and all of those things. Fundraising is just a huge part of what we have to do here. We just don't have the budget that allows us to grow. If we're going to grow, we have to grow through private money. And that's not uncommon anywhere in the country, but that part of it is going well and I frankly believe that the pendulum may have swung too far in terms of the athletic directors not being sports guys. Administration is important and such, but the biggest growth in college sports has been in administration. We could get two football teams with the amount of administrators that are running around on college campuses. I just believe there is a point where it might be good for the pendulum to swing back towards interest in coaching and our players.

I know your ticket office made it difficult for Wisconsin fans to buy tickets. Were you in favor of that, and is the sort of a pride factor when opposing fans take over a stadium a big issue among UNLV fans?

Robinson: Damn right. We make a joke of wearing red, and Wisconsin is probably the best traveling team in America, or certainly right there. But you don't want to lose that kind of identity. Or not lose it, we're trying to build it, so it was important to us that we accommodate as many as we can, but we focused on ourselves. I think most of the people that want…if you're a Wisconsin fan and you want to get on a plane this week and come out, hell, you can come down and stand next to me on the sideline. You have to pay for the ticket, and you have to keep your mouth shut if you're from Wisconsin, but I'll have a place right next to me. We're anxious to get anybody in there now.

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