Brian Robiskie: Learning Again

Cleveland Browns rookie wide reciever Brian Robiskie once again has to adjust. After coping with quarterback changes at Ohio State last year, he now has to get familiar with new system and new QBs. All in a day's work...

He's a professional, so he will be getting paid now – plenty, in fact.

And he's officially called a rookie.

But in a lot of respects – and even though he disagrees -- Browns wide receiver Brian Robiskie is a freshman all over again in the same general part of the world.

Just as he was at one point at Chagrin Falls High School, about a half-hour southeast of Cleveland.

And just as he was at one point at Ohio State, a little over two hours southwest of Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Call it back to the future or whatever you like, but Robiskie is once more a first-year player taking on the sometimes long and arduous task of trying to learn a new system at a new place under a new set of coaches.

That brings with it some growing pains.

"I'd say he is like the rest of the rookie group where there are some days something clicks and he runs that route really well, and there are some days where maybe he's got it jumbled up with what he did at Ohio State and he doesn't quite look the same," Browns head coach Eric Mangini said Tuesday before the team held another practice as part of OTAs.

"Those guys are dealing with so much right now in terms of change of environment, change of coaches, change of terminology, going from the big man on campus to rookie. All of that stuff is new and getting used to the way that we structure practices and meetings. They are dealing with a lot of stuff. I think as a group, the receivers are doing some positive things."

Especially those receivers who are freshmen.

"I don't consider myself a freshman," Robiskie said. "I'm just here trying to learn the system and competing against some guys who have been in this league longer than I have."

Some of them a lot longer, such as 34-year-old, 13th-year pro David Patten.

Some of them no longer at all, such as Mohammed Massaquoi, also taken in the second round of the NFL Draft, not long after Robiskie.

The one thing about Robiskie – both at Chagrin Falls and Ohio State – is that he was patient, ready to wait his turn and earn his stripes, while at the same time he was able to begin carving out a niche for himself right away. By the time he was a junior at Chagrin Falls, he was one of the top wide receivers in Northeast Ohio. And by the time he was a senior, he was one of the top wideouts in the entire state, catching 47 passes for 754 yards (16.0 yards-per-reception average) and 12 touchdowns. He set Tigers career receiving records with 118 grabs for 1,885 yards and 24 scores.

That earned him a scholarship to OSU, which was already stocked with receiving talent such as Ted Ginn Jr., Santonio Holmes and Anthony Gonzalez. As a freshman, Robiskie worked his way onto special teams. Then as a sophomore, he had only five starts yet finished third on the Buckeyes with 20 receptions for 383 yards (13.2) and two TDs.

He was a full-time starter as a junior in 2007, again pacing the team with 55 catches for 835 yards (17.0) and 11 TDs.

His production fell off last season as the Buckeyes early on made the change at quarterback from fifth-year senior Todd Boeckman to true freshman Terrelle Pryor, drastically altering the style of offense. Still, he topped OSU again with 42 receptions for 535 yards (12.7) and eight scores.

A lot of numbers, to be sure, but what they prove when you study them is that Robiskie got better with each passing season at both schools. He kept upping his game.

There's no guarantee that this upward mobility will duplicate itself in Cleveland – there is never a guarantee that any player, no matter how high-rated, can make the jump from college to the NFL – but the fact the Browns used their second overall draft pick to take Robiskie indicates they're reasonably confident it will happen. And by what has gone on in these early practices in the spring, it sure looks as if he will be able to do it.

"Things are going well," Robiskie said. "It's been a good process so far.

"As a rookie, you're coming in and just trying to learn the offense."

And if Robiskie can do=2 0that well enough, there's a chance he could serve as the No. 2 wideout behind Braylon Edwards this season. With Robiskie almost 6-foot-3 and Edwards a solid 6-3, it would give the Browns two big, fast targets in the passing game.

Patten is just 5-10, Massaquoi is 6-2.

To make it happen, Robiskie knows what he has to do. His father, former Browns assistant Terry Robiskie, a long-time receivers coach in the league who is now with the Atlanta Falcons, has told him.

"I talked to him the other day, and he told me to do the little things – the things that sometimes go unnoticed," Robiskie said. "And he told me that no matter what, to make progress every day. Don't go backward."

Absolutely, Dad. After all, it's already tough enough being a freshman – or a rookie or a first-year player or just plain and simply the new guy – without also being sent back a grade.


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