September 13, 2007

Will the Zac attack be back?

At first glance, being the backup quarterback doesn't sound like that bad of a position to the average fan.

After all, you're on the team, have little pressure, everyone likes you and there's little to no criticism coming your way. You have a field pass for gameday and get to listen in on locker room speeches, take advantage of the workout area, enjoy good food and have the adoration of attractive campus co-eds.

Sounds a bit like a fantasy camp of life that Cosmo Kramer would run.

Alas, there are moments where the starting quarterback gets injured or is just plain ineffective. Then it's your turn on the field. Suddenly, all the advantages of being on the team are dwarfed by the pressures of performing when it really counts. At that point, you can either sink or swim.

And so far - while he hasn't been out there in real game action a lot - Zac Robinson is swimming like an Olympic medalist. After starter Bobby Reid went down at the end of the first quarter against Florida Atlantic, Robinson ran on the field in the second quarter and promptly turned around an offense which underperformed in the first frame. In turn, the Littleton, Colo., product put up 250 yards and three touchdowns in only three quarters.

A performance like that when you're not the starting QB - against any opponent - is pretty impressive. It indicates that you have no trouble coming into a game and doing what needs to be done. It's something that could give a player a big head about things. But to his credit, Robinson comes across as a likeable and humble guy. One of those "lunch pail" types that just wants to go to work and do what he can.

Says the redshirt sophomore about playing 75 percent of the game against the Owls: "I was excited just to get the opportunity and just help the offense any way I could."

See? Talk about a team player. Especially after his first real extensive playing time in college. Last season, Orange Country saw Robinson in spurts - relieving Reid after injury against Texas A&M, coming in to spark the offense in Bedlam, random plays at wide receiver - but that's about all there is in terms of on-field play. His stats from last year? Six games, 25-of-51 passing, 345 yards, three touchdowns, zero interceptions.

Considering he's already matched his TD number from last season, and is less than 100 yards from surpassing his yardage as well, just what is his ceiling for stats going to be in 2007? It's hard to tell, but he might have a chance to increase those numbers Friday night against Troy. While there's no official word on whether he or Reid will start, rumors abound that Robinson will get the call against the Trojans. A second solid performance from Robinson could create some tough decisions whenever Reid is 100 percent again.

Even if that turns out to be the case, Robinson downplays the potential for a quarterback controversy and is modest about his performance.

"I don't really pay attention to (a controversy)," he said. "We both can run this offense and we'll both continue to do that. Whoever is out there, this offense will be able to move the ball."

Many fans and media members were raving over his performance against FAU this past weekend. And while it WAS against an overmatched squad, he's still getting credit for looking so good coming off the bench. How does he critique himself on his play in the 42-6 win?

"I thought I played alright," he said. "I wish I could get that pick back. But I just wanted to make sure that the offense wasn't missing a beat when I was in there."

That mindset probably stems a lot from the loss at Georgia, where the OSU offense looked as bad as roadkill, which isn't too far from the truth.

"We definitely had to get that taste out of our mouth," he said. "That wasn't our offense that we played at Georgia. We just flat out didn't execute. We definitely wanted to come out and make a statement."

The offense will have another chance to make a statement against a better opponent this week. Troy is gaining respect as a tough mid-major team, but has issues on defense. The Trojans have allowed 1,007 yards in two games thus far.

Is Robinson looking forward to considerable playing time and the chance for big stats against the Trojans? With another chance to make it about him, his modest streak takes over.

"I just go out and play," he said. "Any chance I get at quarterback, or just out on the field - whether it's me and Bobby both out there or just at quarterback - I'm ready to just try to do what I can do."

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