TCU

Why heralded TCU QB Shawn Robinson could take over against Tech and never look back

TCU quarterback Shawn Robinson goes through drills under the eye of co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie in 2017. Robinson, who played in parts of six games as a true freshman, will be the Horned Frogs starting quarterback in 2018.
TCU quarterback Shawn Robinson goes through drills under the eye of co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie in 2017. Robinson, who played in parts of six games as a true freshman, will be the Horned Frogs starting quarterback in 2018. pmoseley@star-telegram.com

Shawn Robinson sometimes calls his high school coach by his first name.

He earned it.

“He jokingly called me Todd one day,” said DeSoto coach Todd Peterman. “It was right before the state final. I said, ‘Tell you what, you can call me Todd when you win a state championship.’”

Robinson did it, finishing an unbeaten season for DeSoto with a victory in the Class 6A Division II championship game at AT&T Stadium last December against Cibolo Steele.

Peterman smiled at the memory.

“The other day he ended his text, ‘Thanks Todd.’ ”

They text frequently, and this week, it was about the possibility that Robinson will be the quarterback for TCU on Saturday against Texas Tech. Coach Gary Patterson said Thursday that Kenny Hill will not make the trip to Lubbock.

“I don’t have any question that he’ll come out and do a fantastic job,” Peterman said of Robinson. “I’m sure Coach Cumbie has been getting him ready for this moment. He’s equipped to do it.”

TCU co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie led the recruiting charge that won over the four-star quarterback against competition that included Ohio State and USC at the end.

“He’s played in front of a whole lot of people,” Peterman said. “Not as many as Saturday, but at least 40,000 at one point. And he’s a coach’s kid. Those guys seem to excel and thrive in those situations.”

TCU is counting on it, needing to win against Tech and Baylor (on Nov. 24) to all but clinch a spot in the Big 12 championship game.

“He’s come a long way since he got here,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said. “No matter how good freshmen are, coming out of high school, it’s a big change in college. He came in early, which was a great advantage. So he was here through spring, then he was here through summer, and then he was here through two-a-days. So it’s not like he’s just a true freshman. He’s basically a redshirt freshman.”

Trouble is, for what potentially is his first start or extended action, Robinson won’t have a fully healthy team around him. Running back Darius Anderson is out for the rest of the season. The status of other players, notably linebackers Travin Howard and Montrel Wilson, and safety Niko Small, is also in question.

Placekicker Jonathan Song did not play last week against Oklahoma after being unable to practice the Thursday before the game.

Patterson is optimistic that Robinson will be prepared if Kenny Hill is unavailable, thanks to Cumbie and a staff of veteran offensive coaches, not to mention analyst Sonny Dykes.

“You have to rely that you have that much experience in the room that they’re going to try to put him on a good path, just like they changed Kenny from a year ago to what he’s done this year,” Patterson said. “You’ve got to trust that they’re going to do that. I’m sure there’s going to be some good and bad if he has to play.”

Robinson may be fighting uphill from the start. But Peterman, who has known Robinson since he was born, said the young quarterback will handle adversity just fine.

“He’s very calm and methodical in his thinking,” Peterman said. “And that has to do with being a coach’s kid. It’s like he’s been here 100 times. Semifinals, down 10, things not looking good, he put a drive together. We had quite a few last drives to win games or that gave us the lead to win games.”

Robinson at least appears to be goal-oriented.

Last year, he noticed that Peterman only had one coach-player photo in his office. It featured Desmon White, a former DeSoto quarterback and current TCU receiver.

“He said, ‘Coach, I want to get my picture up there. How can I do that?’ ” Peterman said. “I said, ‘Just win. Hand me the state championship trophy, and I’ll put a picture up.’ ”

You guessed it. Shawn Robinson’s picture is now in Peterman’s office, too.

What’s next? Calling his new coach by his first name?

“I don’t recommend he does that to Coach Patterson,” Peterman said with a smile. “Even if he did hand him a national championship trophy. He may have a different thought on that.”

Hey, maybe not.

Carlos Mendez: 817-390-7760, @calexmendez

No. 11 TCU at Texas Tech

11 a.m. Saturday, FS1

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