Aug. 3, 2013
Greg Robinson (73) is entrenched as Auburn's left tackle (Todd Van Emst photo)
By Phillip Marshall
AUBURN, Ala. – For Greg Robinson, it’s time. He knows it. His teammates know it. His coaches know it. That’s why he dedicated himself in the weightroom during the offseason, why he spent extra hours watching film.
Robinson came to Auburn from Thibodeaux, La., in 2011 as one of the more decorated offensive line prospects in the country. At 6-foot-6 and almost 300 pounds, he was already physically imposing. Recruiting analysts predicted he would be an immediate impact player. Robinson believed it, too.
But instead of making a splash as a freshman, Robinson redshirted, toiling on the scout team far from the cheering crowd. He spent his Saturday mornings doing grueling redshirt workouts.
Robinson was disappointed and unhappy, but he drew strength from his grandmother back in Thibodeaux and from his teammates. He saw it through. Even before he played in a game, he knew he’d done the right thing.
“I think the redshirting process was really helpful for me,” Robinson said. “It gave me time to develop, get stronger, smarter and understand it more.”
Robinson started 11 out of 12 games in 2012 at left tackle. He held his own, but he wasn’t a star. And he suffered with his teammates through a 3-9 season. He understands a lot more now. He’s seen all he wants to see of the dark side of college football.
Friday, Robinson and his teammates went to work in Gus Malzahn’s first preseason camp as Auburn head coach.
“It was kind of hot, but we had a good time out there, just getting back to it,” Robinson said. “You know what I’m saying? Everybody was encouraging one another, trying to push everybody through. We had a lot of pace. We’re trying to get the edge back.”
Under the unforgiving August sun, Robinson saw and felt the benefits of months of hard work since last season ended on the lowest of notes with a 49-0 loss at Alabama.
As Robinson watched tape of himself from last season, he saw a recurring theme. He won more battles than he lost, but some of them he should have won in dominant fashion and didn’t do it.
“One thing I watched over and over on film was I struggled with my hand placement,” Robinson said. “That made it harder in situations where it shouldn’t have been harder.”
Robinson went into offseason workouts wanting to get stronger in his upper body, and he did. But it didn’t stop there. He weighed in Friday morning at 320 rock solid pounds.
“I gained weight, but it was pretty much all muscle,” Robinson said “The offseason went great. We worked hard. I was trying to get stronger with my upper body, and eventually that will improve my hands, too. I got quicker with my feet.”
Robinson, with dozens of offers, could have stayed close to home and played at LSU. But he withstood immense community pressure and signed with Auburn instead. He didn’t expect to redshirt, but he did. He didn’t expect a coaching change, but he got one. Through it all, he persevered.
When Auburn season opens its season four weeks from today against Washington State at Jordan-Hare Stadium, Robinson will begin a climb he believes will take him to the heights he dreamed of as he signed his letter of intent on that February day in 2011.
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: