Syracuse, Huskies share QB story lines
Maybe you've heard, but some guy named Locker is due to make his long-awaited debut at quarterback for the Washington Huskies on Friday...
Seattle Times staff reporter
Maybe you've heard, but some guy named Locker is due to make his long-awaited debut at quarterback for the Washington Huskies on Friday at Syracuse.
That it's all a matter of perspective, however, is evident reading the press release this week from the Syracuse media-relations department, where Jake Locker is instead referred to as "Lockner."
Indeed, the phenom QB making his starting debut who the home fans will be most interested in seeing is Orange sophomore Andrew Robinson.
As Locker is for the Huskies and Tyrone Willingham, Robinson is regarded as the linchpin of coach Greg Robinson's efforts to rebuild the Syracuse program. The young quarterback is pictured front and center on the team media guide despite having barely played.
"They obviously think a great deal of him because he was recruited specifically for that style of offense," said Willingham.
That would be the West Coast offense, and the 6-3, 222-pound Robinson seems like a perfect fit on paper, rated as the No. 20 pro-style quarterback prospect in the country by Rivals.com as a senior at Calvert Hall College High in Baltimore.
Like Locker, he takes a low-key approach to the high expectations greeting his debut, and to the idea that the future of Greg Robinson, who is 5-18 in two years at Syracuse, may depend on how quickly he progresses.
"I try not to let all those outside things affect me too much," he said. "If you think about it in those terms, you put unnecessary pressure on yourself and that leads to poor play."
Unlike Locker, Robinson saw a tiny bit of action last season as a true freshman, completing 3 of 8 passes in mop-up duty in five games backing up senior Perry Patterson. He was then named the starter out of spring ball and again early in fall camp ahead of backup Cameron Dantley, a former walk-on who is the son of former NBA star Adrian Dantley.
Also unlike Locker, who seemed bred for his current position almost since birth, Robinson is a relative late-bloomer.
Though Robinson was always a standout athlete, his parents didn't let him play football until his freshman year of high school.
"One of my parents' best friends was my pediatrician and she had seen a lot of kids with injuries and all that, so they steered me into basketball and baseball and soccer and those kinds of things," Robinson said. "But I grew up always wanting to play football."
He was a quick learner. Thrust into action with the varsity in the middle of the fourth game of his sophomore year when the starter got hurt, he persuaded the coach to let him throw on his first play and tossed a touchdown pass.
Now he thinks there was an advantage to his parents' decision.
"If you start football later you don't get bad mechanics and it's easier to fix them once you do start," he said.
The hope at Syracuse is that Andrew Robinson will go a long way toward fixing an Orange offense that has been sour under Greg Robinson.
Syracuse is one of just six teams to rank 100th or lower in scoring offense in the NCAA each of the past two years. But that was with Patterson, who didn't seem a good fit for the West Coast offense.
Andrew Robinson will team with what is regarded as a pretty good corps of receivers, to test a Washington secondary that is still in flux, especially at one cornerback spot where either a true freshman (Vonzell McDowell) or a walk-on (Cory Nicol) could get the start.
Washington's counterattack may be to try to put some heavy pressure on Robinson, though he also has some pretty good mobility, running for 28 yards on nine carries last season and 613 yards during his junior year of high school.
"Any time you have a new quarterback you always want to try to get after him a little bit more," said UW linebacker Donald Butler.
Robinson, though, doesn't sound too worried.
"Being a Friday night, the first weekend back for all the students, the whole town will be excited and ready to go," he said. "I know they are a good team, I know they lost some close games to some really good Pac-10 teams last year, so we are expecting a tough game. But if we do what we are supposed to do, then we should get the job done."
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
UPDATE - 10:18 PM
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