Hill, the Frogs’ starting quarterback the past two seasons who is now a student coach, sees Robinson bringing a Trevone Boykin-like ability to extend plays to the offense this season.
“This dude, Shawn, is unbelievable,” Hill said. “He doesn’t even know what he’s doing yet, so just to see him each day he’s building more confidence, getting more comfortable with the offense. It’s been fun to watch, especially from last year as a freshman to now. It’s been cool.”
The Robinson era gets underway when TCU opens the season Saturday against Southern. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
Robinson had an opportunity to start one game last season, leading TCU to a win at Texas Tech. He completed 6-of-17 passes for 85 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions, as well as rushing for 84 yards on 10 carries.
That experience should be invaluable for Robinson. The weather conditions in Lubbock that day weren’t ideal, and Robinson managed to persevere through his struggles.
One of the biggest takeaways for Robinson is a better understanding of risk/reward when he finds himself in the open field. He doesn’t have to sacrifice his body in every situation.
“You can’t decide to run over the whole world,” coach Gary Patterson said. “There’s some fourth downs you may do, the rest of it you need to understand – it’s all about getting back to the huddle.”
Robinson entered the college ranks from DeSoto known as one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the country. He was ranked as the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback recruit in Texas and No. 7 in the nation.
That ability to evade pressure and create plays on his own is one of the reasons the Frogs are so high on him. Robinson has shed 10-12 pounds, too, making him even more agile and elusive.
With so much turnover along the offensive line – four key contributors from last season are in NFL camps – TCU needs a quarterback that Patterson has described as “an offensive lineman’s dream.”
For the O-line, they understand Robinson’s playmaking abilities and the impact it has on them. They’re aware of the importance of holding blocks and being cognizant of where they are on the field to avoid unnecessary penalties such as becoming an ineligible man downfield.
“One of our goals is to block the front line and then keep our eyes on the ‘backer,” right guard Trey Elliott said. “If they stay back, then we know they’re [our quarterback] most likely going to pass it, so we just have keep our eyes on our ‘backers and follow the quarterback.”
From a defensive perspective, Robinson has impressed by his teammates by having a plan every time he extends a play. He doesn’t just dance around in the pocket, or roll out without an idea of what’s next.
“You see those guys tend to get antsy in the pocket, but for him, he makes moves knowing what he’s going to do before it,” defensive end Ben Banogu said. “I thought that was one of the cool things.”
It should be “cool” to get the Robinson era underway. But there’s only one “cool” thing Robinson can do as far as Patterson is concerned.
“Just try to find a way to win,” Patterson said. “That position already has so much more pressure – don’t turn the ball over, get us in the right play, run the offense. We’ve always been about who’s the best manager of the offense.
“Our definition of a great player is when he comes on the field, everybody else gets better. Who can play quarterback that’s going to make – when he gets on the field – is going to make everyone play better.”