Thursday, November 15, 2012
WR Robinson on cusp of receptions record
By Josh Moyer
Sophomore wideout Allen Robinson has already tied Penn State's single-season receptions record with 63 this year.
Allen Robinson stood on the sideline Jan. 2, during an unusually cool Texas afternoon, and watched Rob Bolden toss 26 balls -- not one of which traveled toward his direction.
Robinson was a backup wideout, an offensive afterthought, during the TicketCity Bowl. If he tried to envision his future with Penn State, broken records and national honors likely weren't on his mind.
But that dynamic quickly changed with Bill O'Brien's pass-first offense. Robinson said Wednesday he wasn't surprised -- even though he was one season removed from three receptions -- that he needed just one more catch to break Penn State's single-season receptions record.
"With the offense that Coach O'Brien has us running and stuff, I knew once the season was starting, I was going to be in position to make big plays," Robinson said. "This was really one of my goals, to be able to have as many catches as I do now. So it's not too surprising."
The sophomore wideout has already tied Penn State's single-season receptions record (63) with two PSU greats, Bobby Engram and O.J. McDuffie. One more catch Saturday, and Robinson will send those record books back to the printing press.
Robinson didn't flip to Page 75 of the glossy football guide to view those records, nor did he set out to figure whether he was close. As chatter intensified on Twitter and fans picked up on the potential record, Robinson couldn't ignore it. He realized relatively early he could set this record -- even if his teammates weren't quite as aware.
"Nah, I wasn't aware of that," linebacker Glenn Carson said earlier this week. "I just know that Allen's been playing great ball and really helping the team on offense this year. But, no, I wasn't aware of that -- and that's great news. Good for him."
The sophomore wideout fine-tuned his route-running over the offseason and practiced his moves on cornerbacks Adrian Amos and Stephon Morris. With a new, pass-first offense, Robinson made a goal for himself in the preseason: Grab 70 catches.
Wide receivers coach Stan Hixon told the media earlier this season he knew Robinson, or A-Rob as he's affectionately known, would be special about three months after he watched the passing game struggle inside the Cotton Bowl.
"We kind of knew right off the bat he was one of our better receivers," Hixon said.
The assistant coach didn't dismiss any talk of records. It almost seemed guaranteed in this offense. Although just seven Penn State receivers have ever passed 50 receptions in a season, Robinson is on pace now to be in a club with just one member.
He's going to make Penn State history Saturday -- and Robinson said that fact wasn't lost on him.
"I would say that would mean a lot," Robinson said about breaking the record. "It'd definitely mean a lot to know, with all the great receivers that have come through here."