It begged the question … If Robinson is available, why wouldn’t he start?
“I don’t know. That’s a good question,” Patterson said. “Why would I tell you?”
Patterson pointed to a similar scenario unfolding with Texas Tech. Red Raiders freshman quarterback Alan Bowman exited with a partially collapsed lung against West Virginia, and his status is unknown.
Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said he is hopeful all three of his quarterbacks – Bowman, Jett Duffey and McLane Carter – are available for the TCU game. Kingsbury hasn’t named a starter himself, which is why Patterson is taking a similar approach.
“You guys keep asking what I’m going to do with the three quarterbacks I’ve got to play for Tech,” Patterson said. “Why shouldn’t I be as smart as coach Kingsbury? At least look like it, right? Sound like it.”
With that being said, signs clearly point toward Robinson starting for the Frogs. Robinson’s status had been in question after he injured his left, non-throwing shoulder late in the Iowa State game.
Robinson had to be helped off the field. Patterson didn’t mention a specific diagnosis for Robinson’s shoulder, but mentioned it’s an injury that could keep some players out for the season while others such as Robinson wouldn’t miss a game.
“You have two parents [of Robinson] that are coaches. Their mindset is in the one percent,” Patterson said. “Some people would be out for a year, some people won’t miss a game. He probably falls closer to I’m not going to miss a game category.”
Robinson has been hit-and-miss early in his college career as TCU is off to a 3-2 start. He’s completing 62.7 percent of his passes (94-for-150) for 1,015 yards with seven touchdowns and six interceptions. He’s also rushed for 188 yards and three touchdowns on 40 carries.
Part of the development process for Robinson is learning the risk/reward in the passing game and running game. He’s thrown too many interceptions, particularly with TCU leading at the time, and is still finding the balance of knowing when to expose himself to hits in the running game.
On the play Robinson injured his shoulder against Iowa State, he kept it on a zone read and gained 1-yard. Cyclones safety Greg Eisworth delivered the hard shot on Robinson’s shoulder.
Asked if Robinson should have handed it off in that situation, Patterson said: “You don’t ever think you’re going to get hurt. You do a zone read, you’re going to get 2 yards, you get down to the ground, you don’t know that the guy is going to hit you exactly right. You don’t have any control over that.
“Now, I’ll tell you we [as a coaching staff] could control it and just said, ‘We’re calling a zone and don’t do the zone read and just hand it off cause we’re just going to kick the field goal anyway. You can look at it that approach. As a head coach, I have to look at both of those standpoints.”
But Patterson wasn’t going to second-guess Robinson or the offensive coaching staff for the play call. He trusts the offensive staff to do their job, and prefers to focus more on defense and special teams.
Patterson has no delusions of becoming an offensive genius at this point in his career.
“You can’t be half pregnant,” Patterson said with a smirk. “You either are or you aren’t. I’m either all-in or not all-in, so I have to trust they work hard. They’re doing what they need to do to try and win ballgames.”
Patterson has suggested using two quarterbacks to the offensive coaches throughout the season. He believes you need two to get through a season, so it wouldn’t be surprising if backup Michael Collins saw more game action in the Tech game.
Collins has seen limited snaps in four games so far, going 6-of-14 passing for 105 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. The highlight was a 57-yard TD pass to TreVontae Hights in the season-opening win over Southern.
Collins also had a rushing TD against Southern.
After Tuesday, though, it’s clear that Robinson is ready to go.
“He’ll play,” Patterson said. “Just like their three quarterbacks, nobody is saying who is going to start, who is going to play, what’s going to go on. But I’ll promise you this – he will play.”